Watch out for fake $20 bills, police warn

Cops say fraudulent currency is being circulated in Fraser Valley

The Abbotsford Police Department is asking citizens to keep an eye out for counterfeit $20 Canadian bills currently circulating in Abbotsford.

Sgt. Judy Bird said fraudsters are creating fake bills by taping clear plastic “hologram” panels into computer-printed “bills” and passing them on to local businesses.

“Businesses are likely to be targeted during busy periods or when less experienced staff is working,” Bird said.

She said fakes can be spotted by:

– looking closely at the hologram to make sure the denomination matches the denomination on the banknote (the “hologram” of recently circulated fake currency is blank)

– feeling the bill (counterfeit currency is rough, whereas the authentic polymer bill is smooth)

– ensuring that the edges of the bill are straight and that the currency has the same dimensions as other bills (fake bills are often poorly cut and are not of uniform size)

– ensuring that the images on the bill are crisp and well-defined (the images on counterfeit bills are sometimes unclear)

Bird said anyone who suspects that a fraudulent bill is being passed along to them should politely refuse it, explain they believe it to be counterfeit and ask for another bill.

She said they should also advise the person with the bill to check it with the bank or the police.

The person in possession of the bill could be an innocent victim who does not realize that the bill is counterfeit, Bird said.

She said 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,” Bird said.

More information about security features on authentic $20 bills can be found online at bankofcanada.ca (click on “bank notes” and then “counterfeit prevention).

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