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Jul 29, 2002

Currency company offers tips to counter counterfeit

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The appearance of a flood of bogus tens and twenties has had both merchants and consumers under stress for the better part of a month. Today, the company that sells Belize its dollars arrived to assure Belizeans that their money supply is still safe.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Tim Jones, the regional manager of De La Rue International Limited, the printer of Belize’s currency, says they are not impressed with the counterfeit notes presently circulating in the country.

Tim Jones, Regional Mngr., De La Rue International Ltd.

“Not very good actually, not very good. They’re fairly standard, I mean ninety percent or more counterfeits around the world are done by the same process. And it is a very quick process, people can do it at home, they don’t need any particular specialised technology to do it.”

Just as easy as producing funny money is the public’s ability to spot it. During an exercise dubbed Know Your Money, representatives from the media and the business community were issued both genuine and counterfeit currency to see if they could tell the difference. It did not take long for the participants to spot the fake bills, although some people have fallen prey to the deception. Marilyn Gardiner, Manager of the Central Bank’s Banking and Currency Department, says the presentation was held to show the public that by taking a few simple steps, they can protect themselves and their businesses.

Marilyn Gardiner, Mngr, Banking and Currency, Central Bank

“I believe that anyone out there, anyone out there on second glance, can notice from just looking at the counterfeit a little bit closer, can determine that there is something wrong with the note, that it is not quite what it’s suppose to be.”

The participants were shown how to look, feel and check their currency. Real bank notes carry security features that when held up to the light will reveal properties like watermarks, a security thread, unique numbering and other special features.

Jacqueline Woods

“Mr. Jones, is the problem of counterfeit currency unique to Belize or is it something you all have detected throughout the Caribbean?”

Tim Jones

“Well first of all I would not classify it as a problem. I think that the counterfeit problem is quite low in Belize as indeed they are in most countries and most parts of the Caribbean.”

In early June, the Central Bank of Belize became aware that counterfeit currency was in circulation. Today, Gardiner

says they are happy to report that the situation is under control.

Marilyn Gardiner

“We have seen it decreasing gradually up to now. Actually over the past week we have only received a few from the commercial banks.”

Jacqueline Woods

“What do you think is contributing to its decline?”

Marilyn Gardiner

“I think that it is the fact that members of the public are aware, through press releases and the help from the media, that counterfeits are out there and they are looking and checking and being as vigilant as they’re suppose to be. In addition to that they are being advised to be careful, know their money and to check constantly not to assume at any point in time that the notes will not be counterfeited.”

This week, a total of six sessions will be held. The general public is invited to attend on Wednesday, but you still must call the Central Bank to reserve your place. Reporting for News 5, Jacqueline Woods.

Despite the tapering off of counterfeit activities, none of those people responsible for the manufacture of bogus Belizean currency has been arrested.

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