FinTech

Impossible to counterfeit polymer bills are counterfeited

By: Cliff Ritter on May 27, 2013

The Canadian government recently introduced new currency bills made of a polymer material to replace the increasingly counterfeited paper bills.  But according to reports in British Columbia, an unknown criminal element succeeded in producing fake versions of the ‘impossible to counterfeit’ polymer bills.

The fake bills are reportedly circulating in Vancouver, according to a May 22 report from ATM Marketplace.  The report notes that the phony $100 polymer bills were found at many retail locations across the city, and the Bank of Canada is worried the false currency could spread to other major cities in Canada.

The RCMP was called in to investigate the counterfeit currency, and suspects criminals are using hi-tech printers that scan and replicate the bills.  RCMP Sergeant Duncan Pound believes part of the reason the fake bills were successfully slipped into the system is an overconfidence on the government’s part that polymer bills are incorruptible.

“There's almost an overconfidence among retailers and the public in terms of when you sort of see the strip, the polymer looking materials, everybody says, 'Oh, this one's going to be good because you know it's impossible to counterfeit.’”

The Bank of Canada advises Canadians and retailers to carefully check polymer bills before using them.  Official currency displays raised and layered printing on the notes, along with symbols such as the Canadian flag, and the central tower of the House of Commons in Ottawa.  If these symbols are missing or there is any suspicion that the currency is fake, the RCMP asks Canadians to contact the police to report the counterfeit notes.

The report only cites counterfeit versions of the $100 bill, but the Bank of Canada cautions Canadians to check the $50 and $20 polymer notes as well.  The $5 and $10 polymer bills were presented at a conference in Ottawa last month, and will enter the Canadian economy later this year. 

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