Mounties warn against potential Kelowna counterfeit scam

“In most cases the customer has been provided with change, after making a small purchase using a counterfeit bill”

RCMP are cautioning the public, after police have responded to a wave of reports where counterfeit bills are being passed to local merchants in both Kelowna and West Kelowna.

RCMP in both Kelowna and Lake Country have documented several files where counterfeit Canadian $50 and $100 bank notes have been circulated and subsequently seized by police. The fraudulent purchases have been made at a variety of local businesses from retail stores, to gas stations, to pharmacies, to coffee shops and even gift shops.

“In most cases the customer has been provided with change, after making a small purchase using a counterfeit bill,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, in a press release. “In other cases, the customer purchases a more expensive item at one store with the phony money, then immediately returns that item for real cash at another store location of the same franchise.”

In an effort to further an investigation, RCMP are releasing a surveillance image captured of a person-of-interest, who police believe may be connected to at least one of the incidents.

RCMP in West Kelowna recently seized a $100 counterfeit bank note, which was described as not symmetrical, cut poorly so that it was narrow at one end and taped together using what appeared to be a hologram from a $10 bill.

RCMP offer some tips for merchants:

  • Be especially careful during busy periods as this is when counterfeit bank notes are more likely to be passed;
  • Pay particular attention to customers who pay with bank notes of a much higher denomination that is needed;
  • If possible, retain the bank note and take steps to protect it from being physically handled by multiple persons;
  • Record the specific details about the circumstances and the person(s) who passed the suspected counterfeit bank note (e.g. time, context, physical descriptions, vehicles involved, licence plate etc.)

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