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The Central Bank of T&T is urging citizens who are in receipt of counterfeit $50 polymer notes to report it to the nearest police station or Central Bank as a matter of urgency.

Earlier this week Guardian Media was told of a spike in the circulation of the counterfeit notes throughout Central Trinidad, forcing some businesses to cease the acceptance of the $50 polymer note.

In response to the recent cases, the latest being on Monday where a customer was given a counterfeit note as part of change from a fuel station in Chaguanas, Central Bank’s Senior Manager Human Resources, Industrial and External Relations, Nicole Crooks advised that “if a person receives what appears to be a counterfeit note, he should immediately take it to the nearest police station or the Central Bank, indicating to the best of his knowledge from whom he received the note and under what circumstances.”

She also noted that people found forging, distributing or knowingly being in possession of counterfeit currency notes are committing serious criminal offences, “with penalties ranging from $100,000 in fines to life imprisonment.”

“The public should always be vigilant regarding all types of financial fraud and in the case of banknotes, the first step is to know the key characteristics of the genuine notes. The notes have a number of security features which can be checked by the look and feel of the note and when the note is tilted,” Crooks said.

Details of all notes and their security features including the $50 polymer note can be found on the Central Bank’s website: www.central-bank.org.tt.

Current President (Ag) of the Greater Tunapuna Chamber of Industry & Commerce (GTCIC), Melissa Senhouse said that they have “already sent an email to ask if anyone received the counterfeit notes to report it to them as this is indeed a serious issue.”

Head of the Arima Business Association, Reval Chattergoon told the Guardian Media that the Association frequently sends out reminders to its membership to exercise extra precaution when dealing with their finances and “keep checking for counterfeits.”

Head of the Chaguanas Chamber of Commerce, Vishnu Charran said counterfeit notes can be any of T&Ts currency notes and warned the business community to be more vigilant, “Especially in these times where we are facing a depressed economy and here’s a lot of unemployment, unemployment rising…businesses have to be careful about counterfeit money being in circulation.”

“Not only $50 notes but the $100s, $20s, $10s and so on. They have to be careful because definitely, they are going to lose their money, so these businesses have to inform their cashiers that they need to check all their bills before they receive it from customers,” Charran added.

Questions sent to the Bankers’ Association on the current issue went unanswered up to press time last evening.