With Christmas shopping in high gear, it can be tough for merchants to keep up on everything, particularly those who pay for their purchases with counterfeit money.
 
Terry Innes is Senior Manager of Retail Financial Services Security for ATB Financial. He says it's not such a big problem with Canadian currency because of the material and the many security features, however there are some things to watch for.
 
"There's a clear portion on our bills now; they'll cut that clear portion out of the bill an stick that onto a paper made piece that's a $50, whereas the cut piece may be out of a $5," he remarked. "If you run your hand along the bill you'll be able to feel where they've added that."
 
On the other hand, merchants should be on the lookout whenever American money is used.
 
"It was just one colour of money, it was all the same, so it was pretty easy to replicate," he explained, although he noted even the Americans are making changes to try to foil counterfeiters. "Every year that goes by something gets added and we're getting to better places, but there's still a market to try."
 
Innes recommends running a bill through your fingers, noting counterfeit materials will often feel and look different.
 
"We had a counterfeit US bill not so long ago in a branch. One of the ladies thought it was kind of funny, that the dimensions didn't look right," he related. "She remembers seeing somewhere on TV or something about dabbing a little water on the bill and she did that and the ink was coming off."
 
For more information on how to spot counterfeit currency, follow this link.

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