With the Crop Over festival shifting into high gear, the Central Bank of Barbados is advising both retailers and the public to be on the lookout for people who are trying to pass off fake banknotes as real money.
“We tend to see an increase in counterfeiting at times of the year when spending rises and there is a lot of money in circulation,” revealed Octavia Gibson, Deputy Director of Currency at the Central Bank.
“And during Crop Over in particular, when a lot of activities take place at night and when many of the persons collecting money at fêtes and working in stalls are not used to handling large amounts of cash, counterfeiters try to take advantage,” she added.
Gibson explained that people can protect themselves from counterfeiters by becoming familiar with, and using, the security features on Barbadian banknotes.
“For businesses that have UV lights, we encourage you to use them. But even if you don’t, there are many, many features on our money that you can check with just your eyes and your hands, and we have many resources to help you learn how. I encourage Barbadians to visit the Central Bank’s website or our social media pages.
“You can also download our free banknote app from Google Play and the Apple app store, which will show you the security features and how to use them. And we conduct free training sessions for businesses on request. The information is readily available, and we urge everyone to use it.”
Asked what persons who receive fake money should do, the Central Bank official was very clear: “Do not spend it. Take the note to your bank, or to a police station, or bring it to the Central Bank, but do not try to spend it, because passing a counterfeit is a criminal offence that carries a prison sentence.”
“We understand that no one wants to get stuck with a counterfeit note, so do everything you can to avoid getting one in the first place. The best way to do that is to learn the security features of Barbadian banknotes and always check your money.”