Bogus US$100 bills find way into Taiwan for summer holidays

TAIPEI, Taiwan, The China Post Staff

Banks in Taiwan raised public alert on bogus greenback, especially the newly issued US$100 bills with the “CB” serial numbers, when more people are converting the local currency into the American dollar for overseas trips for summer vacation. According to a report of the Chinatimes Express, Bank of America (BoA) has informed foreign exchange bank branches in Taiwan about the possible massive inflow of the counterfeit money from neighboring Southeast Asian countries. BoA detected the phony bills after they were shipped back to U.S. headquarters.

The US$100 bills, bearing the portrait of Benjamin Franklin, were first issued and circulated in 2001.

But the improvement in printing process and production equipment has made it more difficult for ordinary people to detect and verify the pirated products. BoA executives advised consumers to be alert when receiving the US$100 bills bearing serial numbers beginning with the “CB” alphabets, especially upon accepting all such bills in a single transaction. Consumers should also be careful when getting all-new bills. They are urged to pay close attention to the serial numbers since the figures on the counterfeits are slightly jagged rather than on an even horizontal line. The bank executives noted that the quality of the paper could give another clue. The texture of the bogus bills, especially the part of the portrait, feels smoother than that of the genuine bills. Officials at the Central Bank of China said there are also counterfeits of the new edition of the new US$20 bills and people using bogus money are liable to legal penalties. They suggested consumers change their money at bank branches instead of going through underground channels like the private jewelry stores, illegal money houses or gambling dens. To protect themselves, other bank officials said, it would be wise for consumers to keep transaction records and write down the serial numbers of the notes. The money-changing volume during the peak travel season in the summer is traditionally about 30 percent higher than other periods of the year.