The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – In the first half of 2013, the OIJ received 55 reports of counterfeit money with the new bills, 32 of them in San Jose. The Central Bank indicated that users are better informed after a safety campaign.

The Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ) reported 55 complaints of counterfeit money during the first half of 2013.

Most of the counterfeit money reported, a total of 32, took place in San José. In addition, there were 7 cases in Limon, 6 in Heredia, 5 in Puntarenas, 4 in Alajuela and 1 in Guanacaste.

These numbers cannot be compared with the first half of last year´s, since the new bills were not in complete circulation until August of 2012, when the ¢ 5,000, ¢ 10,000 and ¢ 50,000 were launched.

Marvin Alvarado, the Treasury Director of the Central Bank, stated that as a result of an advertising campaign on safety between 2010 and 2012, the population in general became aware of the importance of evaluating the authenticity of paper money.

“We believe that, just as it has happened in other countries, the number of complaints might increase because more informed users are capable of identifying counterfeit bills and, to that end, we promote the touch-see-and-turn-the bill- campaign”, said Mr. Alvarado.

The campaign explains to users that they must touch the items in relief on the face of the character as well as the captions in the denomination of the bill.

Also, users must look against the light the character’s face and perfect record, turn the map of Costa Rica and observe that it changes color from purple to green, and that the images of the Security Thread float (bills of ¢ 10,000, ¢ 20,000 and ¢ 50,000), or that the thread changes color (bills of ¢ 2,000 and ¢ 5,000).

Marvin Alvarado said that a high percentage of the fakes are pretty silly, easy to identify at a glance, without the need of any instrument.

The Central Bank offers courses on bill security to staff of banks and other companies.

Banks are a filter. When a financial institution finds a bill that seems to be false, it sends it to the Central Bank, which analyzes it to determine whether it is actually a fake one. If so, the bill is retained and the Central Bank communicates this to the denouncing institution.

If authentic, the value is credited to the checking account of the company or institution that made the claim.

The Cathay Bank detected 20 counterfeit bills since the new set was launched to the market. “These were sent to the Central Bank for their verification and once it was confirmed that they were false, they were retained,” said Wendy Ramos, a bank employee.

Jonathan Valembois, Administration and Finance Manager at Lafise Bank, said that so far no complaints have been filed, and so did Henry Gutierrez, Treasury director of the Bank of Costa Rica.

Valembois said that very few times customers do their transactions with counterfeit bills and that staff has systems such as ultraviolet lamps to detect them. La Nacion

Tracy Vargas

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose Costa Rica