People and businesses in southern Alberta are being warned about counterfeit money.
Fake bills have been turning up in small towns surrounding Calgary more frequently in the past few months.
“A lot of these small towns become targets,” said Airdrie RCMP Const. Jennifer Weedmark. “A lot of people feel it’s easier to try these types of crimes in smaller areas that are not being monitored by police, which is not correct.”
In the past few months, fake currency has turned up on a number of occasions in Airdrie, the most recent on Dec. 19.
“He paid for gas, cigarettes and other items using three counterfeit $100 bills.” Const. Weedmark said.
It might seem logical that counterfeit money is turning up more often in Alberta with the downturn in the economy, however Ted Mieszkalski with the Bank of Canada says data doesn’t support that.
“We see more of a trend based on the time of year. For example, prior to the summer fairs or prior to Christmas, because there are more transactions taking place.”
If you’re skeptical of a bill you’ve received, the Bank of Canada says there are a number of security features built in to the polymer bills.
- Each bill is one sheet of polymer so it should feel smooth to the touch
- Make sure the large portrait on the bill is the same as the small portrait in the see-through window
- When the note is tilted back and forward, you should see an array of colours reflected off the two images in the window from the front and back of the bill
These are some of the security features that have led to a steady drop in counterfeit currency the past decade.
“If we go back to 2004, about $12.9 million of fake notes were passed by the bad guy,” Mieszkalski said. “Last year that had come down to just over half a million dollars.”
Even with the increase in counterfeit money in the southern part of the province, police say there is no evidence to prove they are anything other than isolated incidents.
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