How to Detect Counterfeit Canadian Bills: The Complete Guide

    Mar 11 2020

    Topics: Counterfeit Detection, Canada

    It’s been almost 10 years since Canada introduced its first polymer banknotes. Many hoped the switch from paper to polymer would improve note security.

    The polymer notes contained more updated security features and, for a time, they worked. Counterfeit notes fell to an all-time low in 2015, but they’ve been on the rise since then.

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    Real Canadian banknotes have several security features that even the best counterfeiters have trouble duplicating. If your team handles Canadian cash, then they should be familiar with how to identify authentic currency.

    You Can Feel the Difference

    Police across Canada and the Bank of Canada itself recommend manually checking notes suspected to be counterfeit. That’s because you can literally feel the difference between authentic banknotes and most counterfeit.

    The Canadian Mint uses special processes to create raised ink around the portraits on the face-side of each bill. Since each denomination has a different portrait, the raised ink occurs in different places on notes of different values.

    You should be able to feel the raised ink by running your fingernail over the note. If the note is smooth, not bumpy, it’s probably counterfeit.

    Look for These Signs

    Authentic Canadian banknotes have a finish that doesn’t peel or scrape off. Some counterfeiters will try to mimic the feel of the polymer notes by coating their notes with a special finish. If the note’s been in circulation for some time, then this finish may be chipping or peeling.

    You can also try scraping the finish off of a suspicious note. If it doesn’t come off, the note is authentic.

    Real bills are made of a special polymer to withstand Canadian weather better than paper notes. It also means their colours don’t run when they get wet. Most counterfeit notes will exhibit running colours if exposed to water.

    Finally, examine the holographic strip. It will be embedded into an authentic Canadian bill. Many counterfeiters use stickers, which may peel.

    Take a Look in the Window

    Newer series Canadian banknotes have “windows,” a clear strip where the holographic strip is printed. The clear portion of the note should have the same colours and details on each side. They also have “Canada” and small numbers printed in the clear portion, the latter matching the value of the note.

    The holograph includes a metallic portrait that matches the larger face on the bills. This should change colours when tilted.

    Look at the Details Closely

    Paying attention to the small details can help you detect suspicious notes. In some cases, the serial numbers on counterfeit bills could be duplicated. This may be useful in spotting counterfeit if given a large sum of money.

    Small details, such as spelling errors, can also help you spot counterfeit bills.

    Use a Counterfeit Detector

    The best way to protect your business against counterfeit is to use technology designed to help you double-check banknotes. A manual checking system can help your cashiers spot bills that may need to be further examined. Train your team to investigate larger denominations. You might want them to check every bill, as $20s are some of the most commonly reproduced notes.

    Some cash management technology, such as cash recyclers, can also help you detect counterfeit notes.

    What to Do about Counterfeit

    You can always turn suspicious notes over to the local police for follow up. If the notes are real, they’ll be returned. If not, you’ve helped remove some counterfeit from circulation.

    If a cashier encounters what they suspect is counterfeit, they can politely decline to accept the note. They should explain to the customer that they suspect the note might not be real, and they can offer next steps. They could ask for another note or form of payment. It’s important to remember that some customers may unknowingly have counterfeit bills.

    Protecting your business is easier when your team is trained and ready to detect counterfeit. With the right technology in hand, it’s easier than ever.

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    Andrea Lombardi

    Andrea Lombardi

    Andrea joined the CashTech team upon its inception in 2003. Learning the business from the ground up, she now utilizes her expertise in account management, planning, and negotiation while managing the daily operations of CashTech’s sales, marketing, and logistics departments. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Ontario. She enjoys travelling and has a passion for personal fitness, including obtaining her kettlebell certification. Andrea lives in Toronto with her husband and two young sons.

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    CashTech Currency Products Inc.
    1040 Cardiff Boulevard
    Mississauga ON, L5S 1P3