A recent surge of counterfeit bills appearing in Nanaimo businesses has prompted an RCMP investigation.

According to Nanaimo RCMP, there have been dozens of documented cases of people trying to use counterfeit bills to make purchases at local businesses since May 21st.

Police have identified 4-5 suspects, and the majority of incidents involved $100 Canadian bills with the identical serial number EJS8511162 on each bill.

In one case, a woman successfully used a Canadian $100 bill at the Rexall Pharmacy on Bowen Road on June 4th, and staff realized it was fake afterwards.

The next day, a man tried to do the same thing with another fake bill had the same serial number as the first, and was refused service.

He is described as a Caucasian male, “unkempt”, aged between 25-35 years, and with brown hair shaved on the sides.

At the time of the incident, he was wearing a t-shirt that read Believe the Hype, cargo pants and skater shoes.

How to identify

“We know from previous experience that the people attempting to pass the bills are most likely not the ones reproducing them and are often being lured into with the promise of some discounted real money or drugs,” said Cst. Gary O’Brien.

“Many of the investigations are continuing and investigators are confident that they will be able to determine who is responsible for producing the counterfeits.”

In light of these incidents, Nanaimo RCMP has released a list of ways in which you can identify whether a bill is fake or not:

  • Feel the note. Canadian and U.S. currency has raised ink at different points one each note. If you run your fingernail over the shoulders of the portrait on the bill you should feel that ink.
  • Look at the note: Genuine bills have a finish that doesn’t scrape off and colours that don’t run when they get wet. The holographic strip should be embedded in the note, not a sticker that can peel off.
  • Flip the note: The window on each note should have the same colours and details on both sides. It should also have a metallic portrait that mirrors the large face on the bill and changes colour when it’s tilted. The windows also have small numbers that match the value of the note.

Most commonly, those who use counterfeit money will attempt to make a small purchase with a large bill in order to get as much real money back in change as possible.

If you know of anyone involved in counterfeit bills, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com  or call 1-800-222-8477.