Counterfeit money is a growing problem and the people behind them are targeting nightclubs and gas stations.
This was confirmed by the Governor of the Central Bank of Samoa, Maiava Atalina Ainu’u-Enari, during an interview with the Samoa Observer.
According to the Governor, they recently collected $380 worth of counterfeit money, which was mainly in five to twenty tala bills.
“The culprits are smart,” she said.
“They don’t use it to purchase goods at the supermarket, they are giving it to the night clubs and the gas stations. So it’s difficult to detect it at the night clubs because it’s dark.”
But the Central Bank warns that this should be a wake up call for the public to double-check if the money handed to you is fake or not.
She made it clear this latest case is not the works of a professional rather, its just a copier of two papers that are being glued together.
“There is a big difference between the fake money and the actual note as the ones circulating the country are made from A4 paper which is pretty rough and rugged."
“The culprits actually crumbles the counterfeit $5 to make it look like its been used for a long time when it’s just paper,” said Maiava.
She noted that in the past these culprits used $100, $50 but nowadays they are using smaller notes.
According to the Governor, the matter was brought to their attention during the business’s banking. It was then they noted it was counterfeit money.
The Police were immediately notified and they are investigating.
She also spoke about a task force to address the problem.
“The task force set up involves government ministries and the Police. We have managed to bring some counterfeiters to justice in the past."
“It will be difficult to identify where this money is coming from but it’s only a matter of time before the Police catches and apprehends the perpetrators.”
She also made it clear that it’s illegal to produce money.
“If convicted a person could be jailed up to 14 years or a fine of up to 1,000 penalty units.”
How can the public differentiate a fake note from the original one?
Here’s what the Central Bank of Samoa says:
1. Texture – the feel of a real note is very different from a counterfeit. Real notes use that real currency paper and has that special feel.
Counterfeiters use A4 paper which is pretty rough and rugged. Just by touching and feeling it can give a counterfeit away;
2. Plastic Window in $100 and $50 tala notes – there is a plastic window on the side of these notes, it is see through. Counterfeiters can’t duplicate this because they use only A4 paper, they can’t inject the plastic part in it. So make sure to look out for this plastic window.
3. Vertical thread on the side of $20, $10 and $5 notes – there is a special thread that looks like ‘foil’ that runs vertically on the side of these denominations.
In this thread are the initials ‘C.B.S.’.
You can easily tell it’s a counterfeit if this is not a foil. If it’s foil, then that’s genuine. There are a lot of ways and characteristics to look out for, but these are the basic ones that you can apply every now and then in checking your money.
Please note that the counterfeit money has no value and should not be used for shopping or accepted in any form of trade. Once a counterfeit is identified, please report it to C.B.S.