Topic: Counterfeit control  (Read 3832 times)
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« on: October 16, 2007, 01:14:11 pm »

Counterfeit control
Bank of Canada keeping up with crooks through technology

The Western Star

There is much more to a Canadian bank note than the denomination it represents.

A look beyond the 5, 10, 20, 50 or 100 numeral of the newest series of bills reveals, not only a glimpse into the history of the country, but an extravagant blueprint to counter the burgeoning world of counterfeiting.

Canada’s new series of bank notes were issued in 2004. While most recognized a change from the standard wildlife pictures on the reverse side of Queen Elizabeth or Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier, you may not have noticed the new security features.

“We do change our bills every 10 to 15 years, but there’s no question that over the last 25 years we have seen a huge change in technology — technology that is pretty much available to everyone and is ubiquitous,” Allan Paquet told The Western Star, while educating the public at the Corner Brook Plaza on Thursday.

“This technology created an opportunity for the bad guys, and that means we saw counterfeiting increase for several years. This increase, plus the fact we change our bills anyway, encouraged us to get some new bills in circulation and make sure we picked a suite of security features that were very difficult to replicate.”

Paquet, senior analyst of the Atlantic region office for the Bank of Canada, said the features are more effective if the general public knows about them and understands how quick, easy and reliable they are to use.

“We used security similar to previous bank notes that we issued; which means a special colour, special paper, a lot of detail, and areas on the bill that have thicker ink — things that have been used to protect Canada’s currency from being counterfeited over time,” he said. “However, with our new bills we have actually embedded several features right in the paper, so these features are a part of the paper making stage.”

Other than challenging the counterfeiter, the bills also provide an avenue for businesses and individuals to protect themselves form being victimized.

“When you receive Canada’s bank notes, just take two or three seconds to put them through the test — make sure you are looking at the detail and make sure you are feeling what you are used to feeling.”

With 300,000 counterfeit bills in circulation, along with 1.4 billion genuine ones, Paquet said the activity is still low in this country. However, the main objective is to stay ahead of the game.

“Money is really important to us, but no matter what you do someone will try to defraud you,” he said. “...When we make new bills we are making the wall higher, making it more difficult, getting one step ahead of the counterfeiters — the bad guys. But, we know people will continue to try to replicate or trick people.”

Paquet was joined in Corner Brook on Thursday by Const. Yvonne Walsh of the RCMP’s commercial crime section. She said approximately 1,500 counterfeits were passed in this province last year. Although it is not a large problem, it is a difficult one to deter and enforce.

“We have a very transient population, with all the people working outside of the province, and they bring money into the province,” she said. “We want to make sure people know what to look for when dealing with cash so they are not victimized or they are not passing counterfeit bills to other people.”

The passing of counterfeit bills is illegal under the criminal code, and carries a penalty of up to 14 years in jail. Every person that comes in contact with such a bank note is obligated to report it to the police.

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