Counterfeit currency

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Counterfeiting Canadian bank notes is a serious criminal offence that negatively affects all Canadians by reducing confidence in our nation's currency.

The RCMP and the Bank of Canada work together to inform the public about bank note security features and to encourage bank note verification. The best way to prevent currency counterfeiting is for Canadians to know their money. Most counterfeit bank notes are of poor quality and can easily be recognized by verifying a few security features.

Counterfeit deterrence requires a team approach from all partners including law enforcement agencies, the Bank of Canada, retailers and Canadian citizens working together to prevent this crime.

Counterfeit activity in Canada

Although counterfeit bank notes make up a very small percentage of all bank notes 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.

Counterfeit statistics

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.

Check to protect - know your money

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 bank note security features at the Bank of Canada.

What to do if you think you have a counterfeit bank note

When dealing with someone who is attempting to pass counterfeit bank notes, cash handlers must ensure their own safety first.


Report it

Preventing currency counterfeiting requires a cooperative approach. You can help safeguard Canada's national currency by becoming more familiar with bank note security features. Report instances of counterfeit currency to your local law enforcement agency. We must all work together to deter this crime.

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