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Counterfeit banknotes in circulation

By thecanadiannumismatist | Wednesday, August 18, 2021

According to the following statistics, the launch of polymer banknotes in 2011 stopped several people from issuing counterfeit banknotes. In 2014, 552,968 fraudulent notes were issued compared to less than 35,000 (~6.5%) in 2019. Because less banknotes were circulating in 2020 due to the COVID situation, the numbers are even lower.

The National Anti-Counterfeiting Bureau, part of the RCMP, conducts forensic examinations of Canadian and foreign banknotes and coins to identify counterfeits. Counterfeiting in Canada includes not only the manufacture of false bank notes, but also forged credit cards, traveller's cheques, passports, and various identity documents.

All financial loss is traced back to the consumer who must pay higher prices as a result of counterfeiting. Technological advances in the printing process allow counterfeiters to improve their product and RCMP tasks more demanding.

Number of counterfeit banknotes passed in circulation

$5 $10 $20 $50 $100 $1,000 Total
1998 2,029 31,401 43,874 17,329 26,918 n/a 121,551
1999 4,448 22,216 24,887 18,180 24,798 n/a 94,529
2000 4,673 28,968 23,674 18,274 18,544 n/a 94,133
2001 5,306 40,791 30,839 5,275 46,649 n/a 128,860
2002 14,783 108,969 55,102 7,295 22,308 n/a 208,457
2003 18,800 158,998 161,575 52,660 51,225 n/a 443,258
2004 13,932 123,400 360,160 22,052 33,424 n/a 552,968
2005 13,202 164,982 166,103 28,940 29,068 n/a 402,295
2006 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 287,088
2007 16,382 13,791 94,045 10,263 7,003 17 141,502
2008 5,332 8,444 38,425 8,483 46,982 2 107,689
2009 2,894 8,342 24,762 5,653 25,030 5 66,686
2010 2,384 6,080 22,435 3,792 18,834 5 53,536
2011 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
2012 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
2013 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
2014 666 1,441 44,389 1,207 14,663 6 62,418
2015 1,653 984 8,707 1,092 3,984 14 16,445
2016 789 1,470 6,341 2,820 6,074 8 17,504
2017 1,667 1,127 6,345 5,792 7,858 3 22,794
2018 3,355 1,561 9,029 5,777 13,685 24 33,437
2019 3,354 1,497 12,780 5,902 10,172 16 33,732
2020 2,251 986 4,788 5,434 5,483 15 18,965

Statistics by Royal Canadian Mounted Police

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