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Counterfeits of new TT$100 bill already surfacing

Less than one week af­ter commercial banks in the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago started ex­chang­ing the ex­ist­ing $100 cot­ton bills for the new $100 poly­mer notes, crim­i­nals have be­gun to pro­duce coun­ter­feit $100 pa­per bills.

The front of the new $100 polymer note.

The Trinidad Guardian is today reporting that a video be­gan cir­cu­lat­ing on so­cial me­dia yes­ter­day, ad­vis­ing the pub­lic to be on alert and cau­tious when re­ceiv­ing the new mon­ey, as fake copies of the new $100 bill have al­ready been dis­cov­ered and in cir­cu­la­tion.

The pub­lic has un­til De­cem­ber 31 to swap their old $100 cot­ton bills for the new $100 poly­mer notes. The per­son in the video was able to iden­ti­fy the bo­gus bill by its non-poly­mer feel and the fact that when he held it to the light he did not see the num­ber 100 ap­pear in blue print in the clear win­dow.

“The coun­ter­feit would not be on poly­mer which is eas­i­ly iden­ti­fi­able by touch and it al­so doesn’t in­clude the var­i­ous se­cu­ri­ty fea­tures of our new $100 note…”

– Minister of National Security, Stuart Young

But up­on ex­am­i­na­tion, both bills looked sim­i­lar in de­sign and had the same shade of blue. The video was wide­ly shared on Face­book.

Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter, Stu­art Young (Photo: news.gov.tt)

 In re­sponse to the video, Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter, Stu­art Young in a What­sapp mes­sage to Guardian Me­dia, con­firmed that coun­ter­feit bills of the new $100 bills were picked up. According to the Security Minister, “the sur­fac­ing of a video on so­cial me­dia is not sur­pris­ing but the coun­ter­feit at­tempt is eas­i­ly iden­ti­fi­able. The coun­ter­feit would not be on poly­mer which is eas­i­ly iden­ti­fi­able by touch and it al­so doesn’t in­clude the var­i­ous se­cu­ri­ty fea­tures of our new $100 note, for ex­am­ple, the trans­par­ent win­dow.”

 He said crim­i­nals at­tempt to coun­ter­feit “every ma­jor cur­ren­cy in the world,” in­clud­ing the Unit­ed States bills. “The new $100 poly­mer note has much-im­proved se­cu­ri­ty fea­tures and is a great im­prove­ment on our old cot­ton notes,” Young in­sist­ed.

Back of the new $100 polymer note.

Pres­i­dent of the Ari­ma Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion, Reval Chat­ter­goon said while he has re­ceived no re­ports from mem­bers of his as­so­ci­a­tion re­ceiv­ing bo­gus $100 bills, he said he saw the video which left him “shocked, con­fused and wor­ried.”

Chat­ter­goon said less than one week af­ter banks be­gan is­su­ing the new $100 poly­mer bills, crim­i­nals were able to du­pli­cate the bill us­ing pa­per.