Calgary, AB,

Police issue warning about counterfeit money

Police are asking businesses to be on alert for counterfeit money following a number of tips about suspected counterfeiting activity in Calgary.

The Calgary Police Service Economic Crimes Unit has received information both from the public and merchants indicating a number of sources of counterfeit money may currently be present in the city. During what is traditionally a busy time for businesses in Calgary, vendors are asked to keep a close eye on the bills they are receiving during transactions and check for the security features listed below.

What to look for:

  • Canadian currency (polymer)
    • Each bill is one sheet of polymer. You shouldn’t see any tape in the large see-through window or around the small maple leaf window imitating real security features.
    • Make sure the large portrait on the bill is the same as the small portrait in the see-through window. When the note is tilted back and forward, you should see an array of colours reflected off the two images in the window from the front and back of the bill.
    • A full list of the security features available on polymer notes, go to the Bank of Canada’s interactive guide.
  • Canadian currency (paper bills)
    • The numbers in the holographic stripe that runs down the left side of the bill should have the same numbers as the denomination of the bill it is on.
    • When holding the bill up to the light, you need to see:
      • The ghost-like image of the large portrait in the centre of the bill, back and front;
      • The squiggly lines on the front of the bill (appears to the left of the large number) and on the back of the bill form the denomination of the bill.
      • A solid black line running down the width of the bill on the right side.
    • You should be able to feel all the raised ink on the front of the bill in the darker areas.
  • US currency
    • Watermarks are visible from both sides when held to a light ($5 denominations and higher)
    • Security thread – hold the note to light to see an embedded thread running vertically near the portrait imprinted with text “USA” along with the corresponding denomination, i.e. USA 5, USA TEN, USA TWENTY, USA 50, USA 100 ($5 denominations and higher). These security threads will glow under UV light.
    • Colour shifting ink – tilt the note to see the numerals in the lower right corner on the front of the note shift colours ($10 denominations and higher)
    • For more information on the security features of U.S. Currency , please visit

What to do if you suspect that you have been offered a counterfeit note during a transaction:

  • Politely refuse the note and explain that you suspect it may be counterfeit. Remember that the person in possession of the bill could be an innocent victim who does not realize the note is suspicious.
  • Ask for another note (and check it too).
  • Advise police of a possible attempt to pass suspected counterfeit money. This can be reported by calling the Calgary Police Service non-emergency number at 403-266-1234.
  • If a suspicious note is found after a transaction has been completed, call the Calgary Police Service non-emergency number 403-266-1234, or report it at a district office.

The Bank of Canada takes counterfeiting very seriously and responds by:

  • Researching and developing new bills with innovative security features that are both easy to check and hard to counterfeit;
  • Working with all police agencies and prosecutors to monitor and respond to counterfeiting activity;
  • Teaching Canadians, especially those who handle cash on the job, how to quickly check their bills, and;
  • Providing Canadians with quality bills, and a secure form of payment that they can use with confidence.

Security features on our bills are helpful only if you use them. To fight counterfeiting, the Bank offers free training materials to help the public and businesses use those security features. If you know your bills, you’ll be able to detect a counterfeit at a glance and protect yourself from fraud.

For more information, please visit the Bank of Canada’s website at