||Central Bank Of Barbados
Christmas, Crop Over, and other periods of the year when there is a lot of money circulating are also times when there tends to be an increase in counterfeiting. Although central banks the world over, including the Central Bank of Barbados, are constantly working to thwart counterfeiters, there will always be unscrupulous people who try to trick others into thinking fake money is the real deal.
So how can you avoid falling victim to a counterfeiter? Here are five tips you can use to protect yourself.
Know Your Notes
It goes without saying that the first step to keeping your wallet free of counterfeits is to be able to spot a fake note when you see one. The best way to do that, according to the Central Bank, is to get familiar with the features of real money. “Counterfeit banknotes can look many different ways, but genuine banknotes all look the same. That is why we always encourage Barbadians to get familiar with the design and security features of genuine notes, so they can spot when something isn’t right,” says Octavia Gibson, Deputy Director, Currency at the Bank.
Fortunately, the Central Bank makes information on these features available to the public through a range of channels: on its website; on its free banknote app, which can be downloaded from both Google Play and iTunes; on its Facebook page; and in booklets, flyers, and posters. Businesses and other groups can also request training sessions, which the Bank offers free of cost.
Check Your Money as Soon as You Receive It
Still, it’s not enough to know the security features of Barbadian banknotes; you have to use them. Check every note you receive, including small denominations since the Bank confirms that while higher value notes are targeted more often, it does see counterfeit $2, $5 and $10 notes.
Equally important: check your money as soon as you as get it. If you accept money without checking it, and only discover later that you have a counterfeit, it is too late.
Another piece of advice: check more than one security feature on each note. Barbadian banknotes are designed so you can check multiple features at the same time, so this won’t take long.
Avoid Accepting Money in Poor Lighting
Most of the security features in Barbados’ banknotes work best when there is plenty of light (except for the ultraviolet (UV) reactive elements, in which case, the darker the better), so try to avoid accepting money when the light is poor. If for whatever reason you have to, use the flashlight feature on your smartphone to get a good look at the banknotes being handed to you.
Compare Suspicious Looking Notes to One You Know is Real
If you receive a note and something about it looks off, compare it to another note that you know is genuine. Having the two notes side by side as you check the security features will make any differences more obvious.
Don’t Let People Rush You or Intimidate You into not Checking Your Money
This is especially true for cashiers. Counterfeiters thrive at times like Crop Over and Christmas because stores are busy and customers are in a hurry. They often try to pressure cashiers – “You got de line hol’ up” or “Hurry up! I wan’ catch de next bus” – to not check money. The Central Bank says this is a deliberate strategy. “They use the combination of long lines with impatient customers and their own belligerence to intimidate cashiers into accepting banknotes without looking at them properly.”
Even if you are not a cashier, a counterfeiter could still use similar tactics. Someone asking you to “break a $100” for them might use the bus excuse, or the person giving you money might act offended that you want to check it and accuse you of treating them like a criminal.
“Stand your ground,” say Gibson. “Checking your money takes seconds. And those seconds are worth it if it prevents you from being robbed of the money you think you’re getting.”
Knowing and using the security features on your banknotes, avoiding situations that put you at a disadvantage, and refusing to be bullied into taking notes without checking them are key steps to keeping your wallet free of fake money. So while there will always be counterfeiters, following these five tips can prevent you from being one of their victims.