Topic: Canadians wary of counterfeit bills  (Read 2255 times)
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« on: June 27, 2006, 12:25:14 pm »

[size=14]Canadians wary of counterfeit bills[/size]

Canadian Press

[size=12]Ottawa — Canadians are becoming more nervous about being stuck with counterfeit money, and more of them are finding fake bills in their wallets, suggests a survey commissioned by the Bank of Canada.

“Canadians believe that counterfeiting is a problem . . . . More Canadians have been offered or have received a counterfeit bill,” says the report.

The telephone poll of 2,000 adult Canadians last year has been kept under wraps by the central bank, but a heavily censored version was obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

The study, by SES Canada Research Inc., is only the second such bank survey to directly gauge the confidence of ordinary Canadians in their currency at a time when counterfeiting has been burgeoning.

The poll found that 39 per cent of respondents believed it was likely they would receive a counterfeit bill, a big jump from 24 per cent in a comparable survey SES Canada did for the central bank the year before.

Those fears appeared to be justified: “Current research indicates that over three out of 20 Canadians (18 per cent) said that they have been offered or have received a counterfeit bank note,” up five percentage points from 2004, says the report.

The released version of the SES Canada poll contains many blanked-out sections, with the bank citing security-related exemptions under the Access to Information Act.

Currency counterfeiting exploded in Canada in 2003, as colour duplicating equipment became more sophisticated and less expensive. Bank statistics show that 443,000 phoney notes circulated that year, more than double the level of 2002. Numbers peaked at 553,000 in 2004, and eased somewhat to 403,000 last year.

More than 82 per cent of the fake bills passed last year were $10s and $20s, in equal amounts.

The Bank of Canada has been steadily beefing up the security features of its bank notes over the years to thwart counterfeiters, with the $5 bill due for a makeover on Nov. 15. The $10 bill was upgraded in May last year, and the $20 bill the year before.

“We hope that the public's experience with the new note series, with stronger security features, will help boost confidence levels,” says an internal bank report written before the 2005 SES survey was carried out.

But the poll, conducted March 17-22, 2005, actually found some erosion in confidence. Using an index system based on a 100-point scale, average confidence dipped to 53.1 points from 55.7 in the previous survey.

A Bank of Canada spokeswoman cautioned that the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, close to the change reported in the confidence index.

“In terms of interpreting what this decline means, it's very difficult,” said Monica Lamoureux from the bank-note processing centre in Mississauga, Ont.

“It's very minimal at this point and we need more years of data to be able to know what constitutes a significant decline.”

The bank commissioned a third poll on the issue from SES Canada this spring, but has chosen to analyze the data itself. The results are not yet available, although Ms. Lamoureux said preliminary findings indicate a confidence index level of 54 points, suggesting no change over the last year.

In the meantime, the Bank of Canada has placed three of its own staff members inside the RCMP's counterfeit currency centre in Ottawa, to ensure more timely and reliable information from the Mounties.

That's because Mountie data on currency counterfeiting has been “backlogged and inadequate,” says an internal document.

Ms. Lamoureux said the bank has also struck a new committee to better co-ordinate anti-counterfeiting measures.[/size]
« Last Edit: June 27, 2006, 12:25:44 pm by suretteda »

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