Counterfeit U.S. currency and stolen Canadian cash are circulating through Greater Victoria.
The phoney U.S. bills have been used to purchase items in at least three instances in Saanich, said police Sgt. Dean Jantzen.
They “look a little off,” he said, describing the bills as having edges that are too precise, as if they’ve been photocopied.
“Time and time again it’s the small retailers that get targeted,” Jantzen said.
Larger stores typically have devices at the cash register that will detect fake money, he added.
The distribution of phoney U.S. bills isn’t believed to be related to stolen, dyed Canadian cash making the rounds.
The Canadian money is believed to be from an ATM stolen in Okanagan Falls on July 11. The bills were dyed purple when a security mechanism inside the ATM kicked in. Money from that theft was first detected in Saanich on July 24.
Of the estimated $70,000 believed to have been in the ATM when it was stolen, only $20,000 has been recovered. Some of that money was recovered by West Shore RCMP at service stations and ATMs in late July.
Bank staff are keeping a close eye out for the dyed money. If it’s deposited, it will be treated as stolen money and reported to police.
Jantzen recommends retailers refuse any suspicious money.
As well, anyone selling goods online, through services such as CraigsList or UsedVictoria, should try to get a certified bank draft to ensure money received is legitimate.