Several months before the Bank of Canada introduces a new polymer $100 banknote into circulation, the town of Nanaimo, British Columbia is noticing an influx of fake $100 bills being used at local businesses.
Modeled after the current cotton-paper blend banknote, the fakes have been making their way to gas stations, video stores, taxi companies and even banks according to the Nanaimo Daily News.
In the last month, police have recorded 14 incidents of counterfeit $100, 30% of those incidents were submitted directly to banks in payrolls.
Compared to the national average – around 18,000 fakes were discovered across the country last year – the number may seem low, but other Western regions such as Vancouver Island and areas in Alberta have also reported incidents of high-quality counterfeit hundreds.
Counterfeit production has become easier over time thanks to technological advances in colour copying, laser printing and embossing. Though equipped with security features to prevent illegal copying, some still manage to produce reasonably similar facsimiles.
The new $100 bill, which will enter into circulation in November 2011, ups the ante on security features in Canada. Retaining the colour scheme and imagery of the current Canadian banknotes, the bills feature new security features such as see-through windows, raised ink, hidden numbers, holographs, and metallic images to prevent counterfeiting.
The new bills are also made with plastic substrates in lieu of cotton because polymer banknotes are more durable than paper banknotes – a big selling point for the switch.