Police in Nanaimo are asking residents to be mindful when spending and shopping after numerous incidents of fake Canadian currency have been reported.
There has been a significant rise in “individuals attempting to pass counterfeit Canadian currency at various retail outlets throughout Nanaimo,” according to an RCMP press release, citing dozens of documented incidents between May 21 and June 24.
A majority of the reported incidents have involved fake $100 bills, which were seized and have identical serial numbers – EJS8511162.
On June 4 at the Bowen Road Rexall pharmacy, a woman was able to successfully use a $100 bill which was later determined to be fake by staff, said the press release. A man tried to pass a counterfeit bill the next day, but was refused service.
“The male involved is described as white, unkempt, 25-35 years of age and with brown hair shaved on the sides,” according to the press release. “He was wearing a t-shirt that read ‘Believe the Hype,’ cargo pants and skater shoes. This same male is believed to be responsible for a June 4 incident at Wendy’s in the Rocky City Plaza, where a fake $100 Canadian bill was presented. In that case the bill was seized by staff.”
“We know from previous experience that the people attempting to pass the bills are most likely not the ones reproducing them and are often being lured … with the promise of some discounted real money or drugs,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in the press release. “Many of the investigations are continuing and investigators are confident that the they will be able to determine who is responsible for producing the counterfeits.”
Anyone passed a bill suspected as counterfeit is advised to politely refuse it, explain to the suspect it may be a fake bill, ask for another bill and advise the person to check the bill with police. Police should be informed.
According to the press release, people should consider the following when trying to identify fake bills:
- Canadian and U.S. bills have raised ink at certain points and by running your fingernail over the shoulders of the portrait, you should feel ink.
- Genuine currency has a finish that shouldn’t scrape off and colours that don’t run if they get wet and holographic strips that are embedded and don’t peel off.
- There should also be a ‘window’ on every note that has the same colours and details on both sides, says the press release. It should have a metallic portrait that mirrors the large face on the bill and changes colour when tilted. The windows have small numbers that match the value of the note.
- Older $100 bills have a foil strip that should include those same small numbers and a maple leaf that changes colour when tilted.
Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.