Counterfeiters perplexed by Guardian™ polymer banknotes in Canada
20 January 2016
Ottawa, Canada - As reported by CBCNews, an estimate released earlier this month by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) places the number of counterfeit banknotes passed on to retailers in 2015 dropped by 74 per cent compared with the previous year. RCMP seizures show even the best attempts to simulate the banknote’s security features are easy to spot.
CBC News was granted exclusive access to RCMP's National Anti-Counterfeiting Bureau facility in Ottawa which examines counterfeit money, credit cards and official documents such as passports and driver's licences.
"Generally we're seeing a poor to medium-quality counterfeit notes," said Robert Moyes, examiner of counterfeit for the RCMP.
About 10 years ago, when counterfeiting was at its height in Canada, Moyes said, his lab would receive up to 45,000 notes every month. In December 2015, Moyes said, the lab received 1,500 bills and many were copies of older-series paper notes, which are easier to fake.
All of the banknotes received by the Bureau are examined by specialists under microscopes and different sources of light.
A genuine and fake $20 bill are compared under a microscope. The genuine $20 on the left has crisper features.
The counterfeit bill on the right is pixelated and blurry. (CBC)
When a technician puts a genuine banknote under a high-powered microscope, the image of an eyeball comes up on a large computer screen. It's easy to see several security features, including the fine detail of raised red ink from an engraved plate. Even though that security feature can only be seen under a microscope, it's something people can feel under their fingertips or by running a fingernail across the banknote.
"It's got life to it. There's a tactility," Moyes said, adding that just the "feel" of a banknote is one of the best ways a regular person can detect a counterfeit.
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