March 2004 Edition
Not-So-Funny Money

As if there aren't enough things to worry about in a busy foodservice operation, increasingly, counterfeit cash may be one of them.

Currency seizure statistics published by the RCMP report that 208,474 fake bank notes were seized in 2002 with a value of $4,878,465.00.

And while many businesses are wary of accepting larger bills such as $50.00 or $100.00 notes, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of counterfeit $10 notes in circulation. In 2001, 40,791 fake $10 bills were passed. In 2002 the RCMP estimates that 108,966 fake $10 bills were passed - more than double the previous year. Why? Smaller denomination notes don’t get the attention that bigger bills get – especially bigger bills used to pay for small purchases.

And, if your business receives counterfeit money, it’s your loss. So it’s worth your while to familiarize yourself with the security features on Canadian bank notes (see sidebar). And, it may be worthwhile to invest in training and technology to thwart would-be counterfeiters at your establishment

Counterfeit detection equipment is available through distributors of cash handling systems like AccessCash Canada, a subsidiary of eFunds. Such equipment provides a quick and reliable way to spot a fake in just seconds.

Canadian money is printed on special paper that does not reflect ultraviolet (UV) light while regular paper glows under a UV lamp and most currency detectors use traditional UV/black light technologies to detect fakes.

Larry Sturino, regional sales manager, Access Cash Canada; distributes the Vision Counterfeit Detector - a state-of-the-art counterfeit Currency detector that utilizes high-tech optical technology in addition to UV technology.

Says Larry "The Vision Counterfeit detector can detect fakes quickly and easily, and can check 59 currencies worldwide including Canadian currency as well as American currency and the Euro dollar, and it also detects fake credit cards."

The Vision Counterfeit Detector is widely used by casinos, financial institutions, department stores and police forces. The machine is portable, small enough so that it can go right alongside the register, and above all very easy to use. There is no special training required, staff can immediately and confidently spot a fake with ease.

Say the RCMP, ultimately "all financial losses are traced back to the consumer, who must pay higher prices as a result of counterfeiting."

In the case of the small business owner, the loss can be devastating - Assuming your net profit is 5 per cent of gross sales, you need to make $20 to make up every dollar lost to fraud. So it’s not just a dollar after all. ¨

If you are interested in purchasing a Vision Counterfeit Detector machine, contact your Sysco Marketing Associate or Access Cash Canada at 1-888-211-3584 and identify yourself as a Sysco or Sysco iCARE customer.

Genuine Cash

Security features on Canadian bank notes include:

  • Raised printing
  • Microprinting in lines on the note
  • Fine line patterns in the portrait, including concentric circles in the eyes
  • Special inks used on genuine notes produce colour effects that are difficult to reproduce
  • Random green dots called planchettes that can be removed if scratched and which glow under UV light
  • The serial number is printed twice on the back of the note
  • The newer $5 and $10 notes have iridescent maple leaves, a hidden number that is revealed when the note is held at eye level, and a coat of arms and text only visible under UV light
  • The optical security device on $20, $50 and $100 notes (the shiny patch with the denomination of the bill in the centre) turns from gold to green when tilted, and cannot be peeled off. The redesigned $100 note, which goes into circulation March 17th, 2004 also includes a metallic holographic stripe, a watermarked portrait, a windowed colour-shifting thread, and a see-through number


The Bank of Canada's Currency Education Team will be happy to answer your inquiries about bank notes. Contact them by phone at 1-888-513-8212, by fax at 1-613-782-7533 or by e-mail at or visit the Bank of Canada site for further information: