Waterloo police warn community after reports of counterfeit currency

The Waterloo Regional Police Service recently issued a warning to community members following several reports of residents falling victim to counterfeit currency.

Since the beginning of this year, police have received more than 205 incidents involving counterfeit money being passed as currency. In most instances, $20, $50 and $100 bills have been passed at local retail and fast food businesses, according to police.

“Regardless of the circumstances, any individual who knowingly or unknowingly accepts a counterfeit note bears the loss,” reads a statement issued by police at the end of Fraud Prevention Month this July, adding the police service’s fraud unit “advises that you should check and know your currency.”

“If you know your notes, you’ll be able to detect a counterfeit at a glance and protect yourself from fraud,” said fraud detective Mike Payne.

If you suspect you’re being offered a counterfeit note, assess the bill by checking the ink and serial number.

If you believe a note is counterfeit, police are suggesting people:

  • refuse the note and explain you suspect it may be counterfeit;
  • ask for another note (and check it, too);
  • advise the person to check the note with local police;
  • inform your local police of a possible attempt to pass suspected counterfeit money; and
  • be courteous and remember the person in possession of the bill could be an innocent victim who does not realize the note is suspicious.


Even with new technology, no counterfeiter is able to produce an exact duplicate of a genuine banknote; a counterfeit is always an inferior copy of the original. At first glance, a good counterfeit might look legitimate; however, if you know what to look for—and feel for—it only takes a few seconds to detect a fake.

Read more about Canadian banknote security features at the Bank of Canada website.

If you have any information on counterfeit distribution within Waterloo region, call police at 519-570-9777. Information can also be left anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. If your information leads to an arrest, you can earn a cash reward of up to $2,000.

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