True test of counterfeit bills is in the scent

Welcome to the Bank of Canada’s public-awareness campaign designed to help Canadians learn about the newly unveiled $100 bills and how to spot counterfeit cash.

Let’s begin.

It’s important to note that, according to the RCMP, the number of seized counterfeit bills in Canada has dropped dramatically in the last decade. This can only mean one thing: Counterfeiters are fooling us more than ever.

When the number of bogus bills seized annually drops to zero, we’ll know the criminals have finally won.

But you can help fight counterfeitism by paying special attention to the new bills — look at them, flip them, feel them, talk to them, come to know them.

The bills are a mix of old and new: For instance, the image of Robert Borden on the $100 is now looking right at you. But, in a nod to the old design, you’ll still have no idea who Robert Borden was or what he did.

Above all, the bills have been designed with security in mind. And whether a brand-new design or an old bill, there are important warning signs that the cash you’re carrying may be bogus.

Be aware:

  • On Canadian currency, Canada is rarely spelled with a K.
  • Canadian bills include braille. If the bill is counterfeit, braille reads, “This bill is fake. Shhh …”
  • Be wary if small print says, “We swear this bill is legal tender, honest.”
  • There has never been a bill with Geddy Lee’s image, there is no such coin as the “threenee,” and the $57.50 bill is no longer in circulation.
  • Only younger depictions of the Queen show her with a nose ring; on counterfeit bills, her pearls are also fake.
  • The King of Kensington was never actually part of the British monarchy. Still not sure? The new bills also allow new ways to check their legitimacy beyond simple visuals:
  • Chewing on a new bill for one hour will trigger the taste of wild pomegranates.
  • A new $100 will burn at 233 C. Results vary, so burn at least 10 of them, then calculate the mean temperature.
  • The new notes are magic-eye puzzles. If you let your eyes go out of focus, you will see, depending on the denomination, John A. Macdonald with his head resting on a toilet bowl or Pierre Elliot Trudeau giving you the finger.

If you follow these tips and still can’t decide if your bill is real, please mail it to me and I will ascertain its value in the most respected and time-honoured method available. I will spend it. You can’t be too careful.



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