Just over 400 counterfeit notes of varying denominations were detected and removed from circulation last year – roughly the same as the 398 notes the Central Bank removed in 2017, Deputy Director of Currency Octavia Gibson has revealed.
And Gibson believes the low levels of fake cash being produced in Barbados is mainly due to security measures the Central Bank has inserted into currency over the years.
“We attack counterfeiting from many angles,” Gibson told Barbados TODAY in an interview.
She reported that compared to other countries, Barbados had a very low number of counterfeit notes in circulation, adding that vigilant individuals and business operators and the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) were also instrumental in keeping fake cash out of the system.
“We carry a database of every counterfeit note that comes to the bank and we work in very close collaboration with the police. So when they finish a case they bring any to us. Last year we removed just over 400 actual counterfeit notes from circulation and the year in front it was about 398. So there has been a slight increase.
“When you compare how many counterfeit notes we have to the amount of notes in circulation by denomination, it’s insignificant.
“It is alleged that in other countries like Canada and the USA there are organized crimes behind a lot of their counterfeiting. The ones we received last year were done purely by ink-jet printing. So that is just somebody printing the notes on a colour printer.”
Gibson could not immediately give the value of notes confiscated last year or a break down of the denominations.
From time to time the RBPF and the Central Bank issue reminders to individuals and businesses to be on the lookout for fake cash, especially around the busy Crop Over and Christmas seasons.
It was in 2013 that the Central Bank introduced a new series of banknotes, which it said was motivated by its commitment to its counterfeiting deterring efforts.
The new notes, which went into circulation on June 4, 2013, have enhanced security features. In keeping with industry best practice, security features on banknotes are reviewed every five to seven years.
Gibson could not immediately confirm how last year’s figures compared to pre-2013 before the enhanced security.
But she pointed out that the Central Bank will continue efforts to keep people on high alert, adding that the Barbados currency was not the easiest to copy.
“We offer free ‘know your money’ seminars where we go to schools because once you tell the children the parents will know. So we teach them the genuine features to look for in notes. We also do training for businesses that would have been targetted… We have trained the banks and all the other financial institutions as well.
“So there has been a significant drop in counterfeit notes that we get in deposits. The notes we receive from the banks are actually the ones they send to us saying ‘we receive this over the counter’ or ‘we receive this in a night deposit, and we think it is a counterfeit can you check it’. So we check them and provide feedback. We also go out to the cash in transit and do training for them as well. In a lot of instances, they are putting up notes for deposits from the commercial banks.”