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Police issue warning about counterfeit currency circulating in the region

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Waterloo Regional Police are warning community members after receiving several reports of residents falling victim to counterfeit currency.

Since January, police have received more than 205 incidents involving counterfeit money being passed as currency.

In most instances, $20, $50 and $100 bills have been passed at local retail and fast food businesses.

Regardless of the circumstances, any individual who knowingly or unknowingly accepts a counterfeit note bears the loss. The Waterloo Regional Police Service’s Fraud unit advises that you should check and know your currency.

“If you know your notes, you’ll be able to detect a counterfeit at a glance and protect yourself from fraud,” says Mike Payne, a detective in the fraud unit.

If you suspect that you’re being offered a counterfeit note, assess the bill by checking the ink and serial number. If you believe it’s counterfeit, you should:

Politely refuse the note and explain that you suspect it may be counterfeit

Ask for another note (and check it too)

Advise the person to check the note with local police

Inform your local police of a possible attempt to pass suspected counterfeit money

Be courteous and remember that the person in possession of the bill could be an innocent victim who does not realize that the note is suspicious

It’s essential to report any suspected counterfeiting activity in your community since timely reporting can assist police in identifying the individual(s) involved, police say.

More information about detecting counterfeit money is available online at www.bankofcanada.ca/banknotes.

If you have any information on counterfeit distribution within Waterloo Region, call police at 519-570-9777. Information can also be left anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. If your information leads to an arrest, you can earn a cash reward up to $2,000.

Gas Leak prompts evacuation: Staff and shoppers alike were evacuated from the Elmira Food Basics Monday morning after emergency personnel were called in to investigate a gas leak. [Veronica Reiner / The Observer]

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