Fraudsters are creating fake bills by taping clear plastic “hologram” panels into computer-printed “bills”, and passing them to local businesses. Businesses are likely to be targeted during busy periods or when less experienced staff is working.
To “spot the fake”:
- Look closely at the hologram to make sure the denomination matches the denomination on the banknote. The “hologram” of recently circulated fake currency is blank.
- Feel the bill; counterfeit currency is rough whereas the authentic polymer bill is smooth.
- Ensure that the edges of the bill are straight and that it has the same dimensions as other bills; fake bills are often poorly cut and are not of uniform size.
- Images on the bill should be crisp and well-defined; the images on counterfeit bills are sometimes unclear.
Check https://www.bankofcanada.ca/banknotes/bank-note-series/frontiers/20-polymer-note/ for additional security features on authentic Canadian $20 bill.
- Politely refuse the bill, explaining that you believe that it may be counterfeit.
- Ask for a different bill (check that one as well).
- Advise the person in possession of the bill to check it with the bank or the police.
When requesting an alternate bill, be polite; the person in possession of the bill could be an innocent victim who does not realize that the bill is counterfeit. Only ask for an alternate bill if you feel doing so wouldn’t put you at risk.
What to do if you suspect that a note is counterfeit after a transaction:
Check the bill with your bank or police department. If it’s real, you’ll get it back.
What you can do to stop the flow of counterfeit currency:
Take a few moments when exchanging cash to check your bills for authenticity. Once a fraudulent bill has changed hands, the responsibility to surrender the bill to the bank or to the police lies with the holder. Unfortunately, those surrendering counterfeit bills will not be reimbursed – the best defence against this type of fraud is vigilance at the time of the transaction. It is an offence to knowingly transact further business with counterfeit currency.
Inform the police of possible counterfeiting activity in your community. Timely reporting helps police and prosecutors bring counterfeiters to justice.