When a bunch of 'bogus' $100 bills were causing problems in Canada

Retailers still wanted your money, but not your $100 bills.

In 2001, clever triple-digit counterfeit banknotes were circulating in Ontario and Quebec

Real problems with fake $100 bills

21 years ago
Duration 2:31
In August 2001, Norman Hermant reports on the counterfeit bills that retailers were watching out for.

Retailers still wanted your money, but not your $100 bills.

That's because they would get burned if they accepted the counterfeit currency that was circulating in various parts of Ontario and Quebec in the summer of 2001.

"It's a nasty surprise for anyone, stepping up to pay for just about anything," reporter Norman Hermant told viewers on The National on August 15, 2001. 

"At places that accept almost any form of payment, the $100 bill is not welcome."

Find another way to pay

Even the Beer Store wasn't accepting $100 bills when a problem with counterfeit banknotes was occurring in 2001. (The National/CBC Archives)

Frustrated shoppers found themselves having to find another method of paying, or trekking back to the bank to get smaller and safer denominations of bills.

Hermant said police had tried to clamp down on the fake bills floating around cash registers, seizing some of the counterfeit currency during a raid in Windsor, Ont., the previous month.

But that was only a drop in the bucket, by the sounds of it.

"They say there's more than $2 million worth of bogus $100s on the streets, most in southern Ontario and Quebec," said Hermant.

Worth a closer inspection

The Bank of Canada pointed to a series of security features on the country's $100 bills that consumers and retailers could look to when trying to determine the legitimacy of a given banknote. (The National/CBC Archives)

In Ottawa, the RCMP's Robert Moyes talked about the sophistication of the counterfeit bills causing all the problems.

"The $100 note that's being circulated in Ontario and Quebec right now is quite deceptive," he told The National.

The Bank of Canada pointed to security features on its bills that consumers and retailers could look for, when trying to determine their legitimacy.

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