Counterfeit cash is circulating in Nanaimo.
Nanaimo RCMP has asked residents and retailers to be aware of fake Canadian $100 and $20 bills.
Since last Wednesday, there have been four reported instances of purchases being attempted with counterfeits — three involving fake Canadian $100 bills and one with a $20 bill.
The serial number of the poorly constructed, old and weathered $100 bills is EJA8914981 and the $20 bill serial number is AUV7313367.
The first reported case was on Dec. 1, when a man purchased several antiques with three $100 bills.
The clerk said the suspect pulled the 100s out of a large wad of bills in his front pocket.
Police said the suspect was extremely aggressive and managed to persuade the clerk to agree to the purchase.
Immediately afterward, the clerk realized the error and reported the incident to police.
In each reported case, the counterfeit bills were of poor quality — they ripped easily and the hologram sticker could be scratched off.
“These are not characteristics of legitimate bills and they should not be accepted,” said Const. Gary O’Brien.
In two of the incidents with the fake $100 bills, the suspect is described as a Caucasian male, six-feet-tall, muscular, with short hair and wearing a ball cap with a camouflage bandana beneath.
Investigators do not believe the incident involving the counterfeit $20 bill is related to the $100 bills, and said it might have been an isolated incident.
Police advised businesses that suspect a customer has presented a counterfeit bill to refuse the transaction and ask for another bill or another means of payment.
“Do not get drawn into an exchange with the customer, and, if possible, alert other staff to your situation,” said O’Brien.
“When the customer has left the premises, only then call the police and report the incident.”
If you have any information on these incidents, call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.