Retailers in Iqaluit are on alert after several reports of counterfeit, but authentic-looking, $5 and $10 bills.

Pearl Flores, who works at the Caribrew Cafe, says she thought everything was fine until a customer pointed out a counterfeit note in her till last week.

"I just realized there’s lots of it now," she said.

Flores says she’s seen the fake bills two or three times this week alone.

Other spots in town, including the Royal Bank, have taken in the counterfeit bills. The bills look very real, but close inspection shows some missing features and small markings.

Police say the forgeries are something new for Iqaluit and Nunavut RCMP. Police arrested a man on charges related to counterfeit money last year in Iqaluit, but they say those fakes were little more than colour photocopies.

"At this point, we're seeing they're becoming better quality and harder to detect. And we're working closely with our colleagues in Alberta to figure out where they're coming from," said RCMP Cpl. Denis Lambe.

The RCMP is investigating the case, and is asking people to turn over any counterfeit bills they might have.

Bank of Canada in town to unveil new $50 bills

The Bank of Canada is in Iqaluit today to unveil the new polymer $50 bills.

"Canada's new notes with their leading-edge security are secure, easy to verify, and very hard to counterfeit," said Marc Trudel, an analyst with the bank.

The Bank of Canada is also showing local retailers how to spot counterfeit notes. They’re advising retailers to look for things like a hologram and raised print on the new, real bills.

"I am really concerned about it so every time they give it to me, I still have to check it," said Flores, who adds she will now scrutinize bills from customers.