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Counterfeits and cash-handling: what you need to know

If you’re a victim of counterfeiting, you might expect to be recoup the losses—but that’s not how it works. Victims aren’t compensated, so it pays to verify your bills.

With each new series of banknotes comes ever more sophisticated security features – but they’re only effective if you use them. Here are some of the security features of the latest series.


On top of these security features to look for, you and your employees should practice good cash-handling habits:

  • Leave currency on the cash register ledge or other secure area visible to the customer until the transaction is complete in order to avoid disputes over the amount being paid.
  • Count change back to the customer to avoid mistakes.
  • Make sure the cash or cheque from the transaction is placed in the cash drawer or other secure container before handling the next transaction.
  • Don’t make change for someone who is not making a purchase.
  • Purchase a counterfeit bill detector and use it.
  • Check for the security features mentioned above.
  • Create a company policy on the acceptance of non-Canadian currency and post in a prominent place. Include the exchange rate that will be used.
  • Have a company policy on rounding cash transactions due to the elimination of the penny and post in a prominent place.
  • It is against the law to knowingly use a counterfeit bill or to keep one without a lawful reason. If you suspect a bill is counterfeit:
    • Politely explain your concerns to the customer and request another bill
    • Advise the customer to check the note with the local police
    • Notify the local police of a possible attempt to pass counterfeit money.
    • Avoid putting yourself and your employees at risk.
    • Be courteous to the customer; they may be an innocent victim, unaware the bill is suspicious.

Note: All suspected counterfeit bank notes (U.S. and Canadian) must be turned over to local police.

November 19, 2019

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