Although counterfeit banknotes make up a very small percentage of all banknotes in circulation, advances in technology have made counterfeiting easier and more economical.
In 2004, Canada experienced record high concentrations of counterfeit notes being passed into circulation.
In 2006, the RCMP adopted Economic Integrity as a new strategic priority that focused on preventing, detecting and deterring crimes that affect the Canadian economy. Using an integrated approach, the Bank of Canada, the RCMP (ICET) and other law enforcement agencies, worked cooperatively through enforcement and education to reduce counterfeit currency levels in Canada. These efforts have resulted in a marked decrease in counterfeit Canadian currency, which has fallen to historical 10-year lows.
Despite lower levels in counterfeit activity, it is still important for Canadians to be diligent in authenticating their money.
The National Anti-Counterfeiting Bureau (NACB) is located at the RCMP Forensic Laboratory in Ottawa. The NACB is the central repository for all counterfeit currency in Canada. All suspect bank notes are analyzed at the NACB to determine their authenticity. The NACB also maintains extensive statistical data that aids in establishing counterfeit trends and links associated with counterfeit occurrences.
The Counterfeit Analysis Program (CAP) is a support service that operates under the guidance of the RCMP Commercial Crime Branch. The program provides counterfeit currency intelligence and analytical support to Canadian law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation of counterfeit currency offences. CAP personnel work closely with the National Anti-Counterfeiting Bureau and the Bank of Canada to identify regional and national trends and areas of concentrated counterfeit currency activity.
Even with new technology, no counterfeiter is able to produce an exact duplicate of a genuine bank note — a counterfeit is always an inferior copy of the original. At first glance, a good counterfeit looks like the real deal. But if you know what to look for — and feel for — it only takes a few seconds to detect a fake. Read more about Canadian banknote security features at the Bank of Canada.
When dealing with someone who is attempting to pass counterfeit bank notes, cash handlers must ensure their own safety first.
Preventing currency counterfeiting requires a cooperative approach. You can help safeguard Canada's national currency by becoming more familiar with banknote security features. Report instances of counterfeit currency to your local law enforcement agency. We must all work together to deter this crime.