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Beware fake bills

Andrew Raven
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 02/05) - While the holidays are a magical time of the year for retailers, Yellowknife police are warning they can also be a boon for counterfeiters.

With new part-time staff manning over-flowing cash registers, counterfeiters have a better chance of passing their fake dough, said Cpl. Glen Demmon, who works with the RCMP Commercial Crimes Unit.

"The opportunity is there to fool someone," Demmon said.

"(Retailers) should pay close attention and become familiar with the security features."

Police seized a fake $100 bill earlier this month, though Demmon said that does not happen often. "We usually see about one counterfeit bank note per month," he said.

The $100 bill probably came from the south, Demmon said. He doesn't think there's a relationship between that note and a series of fake $50 bills that surfaced during the summer.

"There doesn't appear to be a trend," Demmon said. "It just seemed like a random one."

Counterfeit bills pop up in all denominations, said Demmon, who urged customers and retailers to check the security features on their notes. Those devices include:

  • raised numbers that are sensitive to the touch;
  • a patch or stripe that changes from gold to green as it moves through the light;
  • features that glow under an ultraviolet light;
  • a watermark or ghosted image in the centre of the bill that shows up when it is placed directly under the light; and
  • fine details, crisp images and non-blurry lines.

Most counterfeit bills can be spotted easily with the naked eye, Demmon said. Often the colours are not quite right, the details are blurry and the print is flat.