Combating counterfeit cash in Canada has come a long way in the last 20 years.
According to Bank of Canada (BoC) statistics, 2004 was the peak season for counterfeiters, with 470 fake bills to every one-million authentic notes in circulation. It cost the economy $13-million.
“We were probably one of the highest in the G7 groups,” said Farid Salji, an analyst at BoC.
Speaking at a Kelowna RCMP fraud session, sponsored by the Uptown Rutland Businesses Association, Salji said several measures were put in place to fight counterfeiting. They included working more closely with law enforcement, designing state-of-the-art new notes, and public education campaigns.
It resulted in only seven bogus bills to every one-million real notes in 2021, dinging the economy for $873,000. However, counterfeiters have kept pace.
“We used to develop a new series of notes every 15 years,” explained Salji. “But with technology doubling or tripling every year, and getting so much easier to use, now what we’re doing is a rolling schedule.”
It means the Bank of Canada is bringing out a new note every few years for the next generation, he added. Salji’s advice for business owners dealing in cash is to educate themselves and their employees and to pay attention.
“We have materials designed for everybody, and everything is absolutely free,” he said. You can go to our website and order anything you want. The onus comes back to people to actually pay attention.”
Salji pointed out that all denominations are being faked, but counterfeiters don’t always do the greatest quality work. If you are presented with a counterfeit bill, his advice is to politely refuse it; ask for another note; direct the person to police; or contact police yourself.