Topic: Great article on "Funny Money"in Globe Business section today  (Read 5751 times)
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« on: December 03, 2011, 09:22:57 pm »

 Fantastic article about conterfeiters and new polymer notes :)
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2011, 12:36:52 am »

This is the most extensive report I have seen on the subject in a Canadian newspaper. It details how the counterfeiting problem in the 1990s and early 2000s led to the Bank of Canada to consider polymer.

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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2011, 11:42:18 am »

Thanks for sharing Seth.  I really enjoyed reading this analysis of how the BOC met the challenge of thwarting forgers of Canadian paper money. 

Grant Robertson does an excellent job of detailing the Bank of Canada's decision to scrub their paper money substrate for plastic (or the fancy term "polymer").
The stories of "Mr. Weber from Windsor" and the suspicious grey Hyundai that was caught following the Brinks truck were fascinating.  The author also traces Aussie scientist David Solomon's early years of creating the new plastic cash back in 1966.  The Australian Reserve Bank did not introduce the new cash till 88.   

Robertson combines both the technical terminology (how the the rate of detecting over 50 fake notes per million true notes is unacceptable) with the human element and how it affects the confidence of a nation's businesses over the legitimacy of its currency.  This is a really fascinating read well worth the time. 


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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2011, 01:29:32 pm »

That was a good read.
It would be interesting to know the reason why Mr Weber was following the Brinks truck, did he want brand new notes even though used legitimate notes would have done just fine?

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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2011, 07:24:31 pm »

It would be interesting to know the reason why Mr Weber was following the Brinks truck,
Mr Weber was not following the Brinks truck but rather a few unidentified "runners" who likely bought their bogus $20.00 notes from 2 huge operations that were operating out of print shops (later busted in Markham and northern TO).  Grant Robertson uses two case studies to examine how the criminal phenomena of forging can operate in unique yet equally devastating ways. 

Mr. Weber was a "small time" individual operation who nevertheless printed $100 notes in an estimated amount of 6 million of the Birds Series (through sophisticated yet widely available software) while the runners from the larger print shop operation (passing bogus Journey $20) were passing notes that were in the 10-20 million dollar range (& More if the notes seized went public).  Shutting down the major operation proved to be a major coup for crime stoppers yet a "wake up call" for the BOC who had to reconsider just how secure their Journey notes were (which ultimately led to their decision to go polymer).  Their notes were "mind-boggling" in their sophistication since they had the watermark and metallic strip down.

Why would the "Runners" in the Hyundai follow the brinks truck?  Possibly to be sure they were getting clean new bills for change rather than some of their own "bogus bucks" as change in their laundering operation.  It obviously wasn't the brightest play of the day, but then again most criminals greatest weakness is their unshaken confidence in their own superior intelligence  (which often leads to their undoing.)

I believe Robertson traced the two individual operations to illustrate how one was a major operation doing major (record breaking) damage while the other was a rather small time operation which still wreaked considerable damage (by passing way too many bills) ultimately shaking many business owners' faith in the legitimacy of our $100 Bird notes.  The latter example nicely illustrates the devastating effects of the techno-saavy so-called "small-time" counterfeiters.  He also inferred that the Bird series was way past its due date in a security upgrade.  And yet what BOC thought would remedy the increased forging trend did nothing of the sort- and hence the turn to polymer. 
« Last Edit: December 04, 2011, 07:32:28 pm by walktothewater »

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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2011, 09:10:31 pm »

It appears that the decision to go polymer came long before good quality fakes of the Journey $20 to $100 notes started to appear. BOC experimented with polymer substrates (Luminus) before Journey notes were introduced. I think what prompted the move was rampant counterfeting of the Birds notes (the notes in the Hyunday must have been Birds twenties) and the new $5 and $10 notes in the Journey series that proved to be a major flop. I remember getting 4 fake tens in change in 18 months in 2003-2004, which means as many as 1 in roughly 200 tens in Toronto could have been counterfeited. Almost each small grocery store I went to had several of these fakes pinned to a wall. The 730 ppm surge in counterfeits at that time could easily be attributed to the Journey tens alone. It's interesting that the article does not mention this.

In my opinion, the upgraded $5 and $10 Journey notes as well as the original Journey $20, $50, and $100 notes have decent security features. The hologram and the watermark could be duplicated, but the security thread is much harder to copy.

In any case, the polymer notes bring banknote security to a new dimension and are certainly a welcome change. As the article says the polymer substrate itself is the most important security feature.

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