How to spot the fake big bucks

Canada's polymer $100 banknote, released in 2013. (Supplied Photo)

Canada's polymer $100 banknote, released in 2013. (Supplied Photo)

Ian Robertson, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:50 PM ET

TORONTO -- Avoiding bogus banknotes is all about looking good and feeling good.

Since 2004 -- a record year for counterfeits -- security devices have reduced the number of bad bucks passed by 90%, a Bank of Canada report notes.

But, criminals will always try to literally make money.

A few cash-handlers were bilked in 2013 by fake $100 polymer bills.

RCMP Cpl. Tim Laurence said about 175 B.C. versions printed on a "plastic-like material" imitated the shiny, slippery surface of genuine notes, but "were crude."

In Woodstock, Ont., plastic tape on a few passed paper copies simulated transparent holograph-fitted sections introduced in 2011, said Laurence, the Ontario counterfeit co-ordinator. But, Sir Robert Borden's ghostly image was mottled, the flag on the East Block's tower on Parliament Hill was missing, and the mid-section lacked text.

In the constant battle to keep ahead of counterfeiters, experts stress checking for differences between genuine currency and what someone hands you - not similarities.

Real portrait engravings have raised surfaces you can "feel" and fakes look darker and have smoother over-all surfaces, tilt notes and watch for holograms to change, and look for interwoven security threads.

Checking "doesn't take you any more time," but Bank of Canada senior Ontario regional representative Manuel Pereira stressed people must "know what to look for."

The agency produces pamphlets explaining anti-counterfeit features and offers seminars for businesses.

It invested about $20 million in research and tests for the new currency printed on a costlier "polypropylene substrate" developed in Australia.

Research into even more secure currency will start soon, Pereira said.