Counterfeit banknotes hit GTA, southwestern Ontario

Separate incidents of counterfeit banknotes being passed as legitimate currency have been reported by cities across southern Ontario this month.

Two counterfeit $100 notes from the Bank of Canada’s polymer Frontiers series were discovered in two separate deposits by staff at a bank in downtown Stratford, Ont., on Jan. 7.

In a press release issued a day after the notes were discovered, the Stratford Police Service confirmed it was investigating the deposits but didn’t believe either of the depositors was aware of the notes’ genuineness.

Business owners who suspect they’ve received a counterfeit banknote are urged to contact police to determine if it’s real or fake.

“Remember that timely reporting of these incidents is important in finding the people responsible and removing these bills from circulation,” said police in the Jan. 8 statement.


The Stratford Police Service is also investigating two incidents of counterfeit U.S. currency being passed at a business in St. Marys, about 20 kilometres southwest of Stratford, last weekend.

The counterfeit $100 notes were passed by two different males on two separate occasions. Each male made a purchase at the store and paid with the U.S. $100 bills before receiving change from their purchase.

The store owner later learned the notes were fake and contacted police.

Stratford police have obtained video surveillance of the two incidents and are currently investigating.


“New security measures on our Canadian currency did lead to a decrease in counterfeit money, but it appears the thieves are at it again,” said CTV News reporter Zuraidah Alman in a broadcast earlier this month.

Despite increased security measures on the Bank of Canada’s seventh and latest series of banknotes – Frontiers, also known as the polymer series – counterfeiters are keeping pace with the changes.

The CTV report features a man from Richmond Hill, Ont., that sold a “high-end iPhone” for $1,260 in cash. The buyer gave the man 63 $20 banknotes, which – upon closer inspection – were determined to be fake.

“It’s not worth anything,” Michael Boddy told CTV News, adding “the texture doesn’t feel right, and I noticed the braille is missing, and then I started looking at the serial numbers on the back, and a lot of them were repeating – duplicates.”

Local police said high-quality counterfeits are being passed across the Greater Toronto Area, and another CTV report featured Ottawa residents who claimed they receieved fake $5 bills.


When dealing with someone who’s attempting to pass counterfeit banknotes, cash handlers must ensure their own safety first by:

  • acknowledging and remaining vigilant through busy periods, when counterfeit notes are more likely to be passed;
  • being wary of customers who want to pay with higher denominations than needed;
  • keeping the suspicious banknote, and if possible, recording all relevant information about the bill and the person, such as denomination, serial number, time, context, physical descriptions, and vehicles and licence plates;
  • contacting local police;
  • giving the suspicious banknote to the police and requesting a receipt (if the note is genuine, it will be returned to you); and
  • remembering the person passing a counterfeit banknote may be unaware it is phoney. He or she could also be an unwitting victim of crime.

More information on how to authenticate genuine Canadian currency can be found at

Leave a Reply

Canadian Coin News


Canadian Coin News is Canada's premier source of information about coins, notes and medals.

Although we cover the entire world of numismatics, the majority of our readers are Canadian, and we concentrate on the unique circumstances surrounding collecting in our native land.

Send Us Your Event

Running an event? Send it to us and we will display it on Canadian Coin News!

Submit Event →

Subscribe To 26 Issues For Just $59.99/year

Subscribe today to receive Canada's premier coin publication. Canadian Coin News is available in both paper and digital forms.

Subscribe Now

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage.