It pays to know your dough

Paul Herridge
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Businesses taught to spot fake money

Renita Domineaux (centre) examines two $20 bills one counterfeit and one legit. She was joined by participants including Debbie Hillier and Coun. George Cooper at a recent session for Grand Bank area businesses on identifying counterfeit money, led by RC

Its said that money cant buy happiness, and thats especially true if the bills arent real to begin with.

Last year, 1,100 phoney bills were brought to the attention of police in this province. Some 500 have been discovered so far this year.

That may be small change compared to the more than 400,000 counterfeit bills seized in Canada in 2005, but theres enough funny money being passed on to businesses in this province to cause concern.

Const. Yvonne Walsh of the RCMPs commercial crime section in St. Johns who is also the RCMPs counterfeit co-ordinator for the province said the bills arent limited to St. Johns, as some might think.

Theyve been in Goose Bay, theyve appeared in Grand Falls-Windsor, she said.

So, its a little bit of a problem all over the province. Its not just related to one specific area. Its everywhere.

Last week, Walsh teamed up with the Grand Bank Development Corp. to offer training sessions to businesses in Grand Bank and Fortune on how to spot fake paper money.

Walsh said counterfeit cash has an enormous impact on the economy, and for every $100 of fake currency a store receives, the merchant must sell thousands of dollars worth of merchandise to recoup their loss. As a result, prices go up.

And if youre in a small, rural area you know what your (merchandise) turnover is, and its hard to increase turnover, she said, especially with the competition and everything like that, so its a big impact.

Monique May, who chairs the Grand Bank Development Corp.s board of directors, said her group figured the counterfeit sessions would be beneficial to businesses, given the number of visitors the region receives annually.

All three sessions were filled to capacity.

Walsh taught participants to recognize fake money, and explained the security features built into bank notes. She pointed out that the most common method of producing counterfeit currency is using an inkjet printer, and that the bill most often counterfeited is the $20.

People were very impressed with the presentation skills, May said, and feel very confident in being able to determine what cash is real and what is counterfeit to protect their business. As well, they are now trained to go back and train their own staff.

Walsh said she checks all bank notes she receives, and avoids using cash machines that arent owned by a reputable bank, such as those often found in convenience stores and bars. The Bank of Canada, which is responsible for currency, doesnt reimburse people who get passed illegal money, since it argues doing so could actually encourage counterfeiting.

The Southern Gazette

Organizations: Grand Bank Development Corp.s, Bank of Canada

Geographic location: Grand Bank, Canada, Goose Bay Grand Falls-Windsor

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