The “Scenes of Canada” banknote series hasn’t been printed in over 30 years, but RCMP in Halifax, Nova Scotia say counterfeit bills mimicking the old series have been popping up recently.
The counterfeit notes were predominately $50 bills, though counterfeit $20 bills from the old series have also been reported his week. Const. Tammy Lobb told CBC News that RCMP in Chester, Oxford, New Minas and Windsor have also found fake $50s that resemble those found in Halifax.
The “Scenes of Canada” banknotes – often dubbed the “multicoloured series” – were in production between 1969 and 1979 and were released in response to growing concern about counterfeiting.
According to the Bank of Canada, the main characteristic of the design was the use of multicoloured tints beneath the dominant colour. Known as “rainbow printing,” this process subtly merged two or more colours into each other. The colour technique was designed to thwart counterfeiters.
Canadian banknotes have seen major changes since then. In November, the Bank of Canada launched a new series switching from a cotton-paper blend to polymer, a plastic-based substrate. The new series also contains multiple high-tech security features including a see-through window, a metallic portrait, and optically variable images, among others.
Police in Nova Scotia say it’s likely the counterfeit – whom they’ve since arrested – used the older series specifically for its lack of security features.
They also said the counterfeit bills were fairly ill-produced. The bogus bills didn’t have the same texture as real money and, in some cases, the dye ran when the bills got wet, the CBC reported.