Printers, scanners aid Canadian counterfeiters

Crooks are using the latest digital printers to make fake Canadian banknotes, focusing on a new range of low-denomination notes that were supposed to be tougher than ever to copy, police and experts say.

Central bank figures show that the number of fake five and 10 Canadian dollar bills seized by banks and police nearly tripled in 2002 from 2001 -- when Canada issued new notes with high-tech security features like embossed words and iridescent maple leaves that change colors as the notes are tilted.

"This is a case of some high school kids with a computer programmed to print out fives and tens," said Tom Naylor, a specialist in the economics of crime at McGill University.

The number of bogus bills detected last year -- 208,457 -- is tiny compared to the 1.08 billion legitimate bills in circulation. But the cottage industry manner in which they are made has attracted attention.

"More criminals of opportunity have taken advantage of available technology and people receiving currency are not taking the time to verify that currency when they receive it," said Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesman Paul Marsh.

News source: CNN

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The paranoia from retailers about accepting $50 and $100 has caused this problem. Stores have done such a good job at blindly refusing large bills because they might be counterfeit and this has enouraged counterfeiting of smaller demominations.


If stores had instead trained their employees properly to distinguish valid bills from counterfeit bills then this would not be an issue.