VANCOUVER - Less than two years ago, the head of the RCMP said Canada's new polymer bank notes would go a long way in deterring the threat of counterfeiting.

Just last month, the Bank of Canada announced the notes' sophisticated transparency and holography made them "the most secure bank note series ever issued" by the institution.

Too bad somebody forgot to tell criminals in British Columbia.

Mounties and municipal police in Metro Vancouver are warning the public that several of the fake $100 bills have been detected in the region over the past few weeks.

The fanfare about the security features on the bills, may be part of the problem, said RCMP Sgt. Duncan Pound.

"Because the polymer series' notes are so secure ... there's almost an overconfidence among retailers and the public in terms of when you sort of see the strip, the polymer looking materials, everybody says 'oh, this one's going to be good because you know it's impossible to counterfeit,'" he said.

"So people don't actually check it."

Pound declined to identify where the notes have turned up, but the Vancouver Police Department has confirmed in an email that one $100 note was passed in the city's downtown April 26 and reported to police on May 6.

Staff Sgt. Paul Hyland of the New Westminster Police Department said an unidentified male used two $100 bills in a grocery store April 26 and another individual tried to deposit five $100 notes in a bank May 4.

The police have not yet identified the male in the April 26 incident, he added, and they don't believe the individual who tried to deposit the cash was aware the bills were counterfeit.

Hyland said the bills used in his city lacked raised print in areas where it was required and a flag was missing from an image of a building.

"What our forensic identity member said was that these bills were designed to fool people, in that if you had one or two of these bills you probably could not tell, but if you had one of these counterfeit bills next to a legitimate bill it would be quite obvious that they are not real," he said.

The Bank of Canada introduced the polymer bank-note series in June 2011, stating they contained unique features to improve security.

Specifically, the new notes include two transparent areas: the first extends from the top to the bottom of the notes and includes complex holographic features, and the second is in the shape of a maple leaf.

Then-Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney said in a statement at the time the new notes were more secure, economic, and better for the environment.

"These new and technically innovative notes will go a long way to deter the threat of counterfeiting in coming years," added RCMP Commissioner William Elliot in a media release at the time.

The bank issued the notes in November 2011, the $50 notes in March 2012, and the $20 notes in November 2012. This past April, the bank unveiled the $5 and $10 notes.

Pound said since the polymer series was announced in 2011, police have confirmed 56 polymer counterfeit notes across Canada, out of about 500-million polymer notes in circulation.

According to a Bank of Canada checklist, consumers should look and feel for several security features to ensure the bills are legitimate.

The bank states that among the features of a legitimate $100 polymer bill are a transparent window with a finely detailed metallic portrait, a building and words, sharp colour changes in the metallic building, and numbers matching the note's value when looking through the frosted maple-leaf window.

Consumers can also feel raised ink in several areas on the bill.

If consumers are still not sure whether the bill is legitimate, they can compare the note with a genuine.

Pound said the repercussions of counterfeit bills go well beyond the value of the notes themselves.

"The real damage it does is it damages confidence, right, it damages the confidence of the public, if they start thinking, 'OK, there's something wrong with the notes,'" he said.

"It damages the businesses, where businesses start to suspect that everything is then counterfeit and it just sort of has that impact on confidence, which is hard to measure."

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  • The New $5 Bill

    Source: <a href="" target="_blank">Bank Of Canada, Flickr</a>

  • The New $5 Bill

    From <a href="" target="_blank">Bank Of Canada, Flickr</a>: "Robotics innovation is Canada’s ongoing contribution to the international space program and demonstrates our commitment to space exploration. The Canadian-built Mobile Servicing System is the sophisticated robotics suite that helped to assemble the International Space Station in orbit. This system consists of Canadarm2, Dextre and the Mobile Base. On board the space station—a permanent orbiting research laboratory—international partners conduct scientific experiments, many of which result in an enhanced quality of life on earth. Canada’s contribution to the space program evokes pride and sparks the imagination and curiosity of our future leaders in science and technology."

  • The New $10 Bill

    Source: <a href="" target="_blank">Bank Of Canada, Flickr</a>

  • The New $10 Bill

    From <a href="" target="_blank">Bank Of Canada, Flickr</a>: "The expansion of the railway in the 1880s was hailed as a remarkable feat of engineering for a young country with a varied and often treacherous terrain. At the time, the railway was the longest ever built, and its completion demonstrated Canada’s pioneering spirit by linking our eastern and western frontiers, connecting people, and facilitating the exchange of goods. Today, The Canadian train, winding its way through the Rockies showcases Canada’s natural beauty and symbolizes what we accomplished as a young nation."

  • The New $5 And $10 Bills

    Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney unveils the new polymer $5 and $10 bank notes during a press conference at the Bank of Canada in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

  • The New $5 And $10 Bills

    Finance Minister Jim Flaherty unveils the new polymer $5 and $10 bank notes during a press conference at the Bank of Canada in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

  • The New $10 Bill

    A new polymer $10 bank note is displayed during a press conference at the Bank of Canada in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

  • Astronaut Chris Hadfield Displays The New $5 Bill

    Astronaut Chris Hadfield poses for a photo with a new polymer $5 bank note on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

  • The New $20 Bill

    Hand holding up the new polymer Canadian $20.00 bill.

  • The New $20 Bill

    Some new polymer twenty dollar bills, which is the most widely used bank note in the country, are pictured at Montreal on November 19, 2012.

  • The New $20 Bill

    The Bank of Canada introduced the plastic see-through $20 bill on May 2, 2012.

  • The New $50 Bill

    Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney holds a new $50 bill while standing in front of the Canadian Coast guard ship Amundsen Monday, March 26, 2012 in Quebec City. The Amundsen is displayed on the back of the new bank note made of polymer.

  • The New $100 Bill

    Bank of Canada Mark Carney shows off the bank's new circulating $100 bill, Canada's first polymer bank note, in Toronto on Monday Nov. 14, 2011.

  • The New $100 Bill

    The $100 bill was the first of Canada's paper denominations to go plastic and see-through.

  • Australia's polymer note

    An Australian 100 dollar polymer note is displayed above various international currencies. AFP PHOTO / Torsten BLACKWOOD

  • Australia's polymer note


  • Mexico's polymer note

    A Mexican pesos note made out of polymer material. Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images

  • Mexico's polymer note

    Mexico City, MEXICO: A sample of the new 50 Mexican pesos' note made out of polymer material to hinder its forgery, 14 November, 2004 in Mexico City. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Next: Twitter Jokes About New Bills

  • Andrew Coyne

    Even that would be better. @InklessPW: Wells designs new bills. What'll we put on the 5? Oscar Peterson. The 10? Peterson. 20? Glenn Gould

  • Cory S.

    Wait so there's no more quote from the Hockey Sweater on the new $5 bills? #manifencours

  • Tabatha Southey

    New bills should be 5 pin bowling for the $5, a Robertson screwdriver for the $10, a Canadian flag, draped over a picnic bench on the backs.

  • LauraBeaulneStuebing

    Theory about the new $5 and $10 bills: They're ugly enough that we don't want to keep them in our wallets.

  • Paul Wells

    Paul Wells designs the new bills. "What'll we put on the 5?" "Oscar Peterson." "And on the 10?" "Oscar Peterson." "20?" "Glenn Gould."

  • Wesley Fok

    Was expecting the new $5/$10 bills to literally have pictures of poop on them, based on the outcry. Surprise: they look like money!

  • Patrick Meehan

    Q: You're the federal government, what do you put on the new 5$ and 10$ bills? A: Things you've cut funding to.

  • Jason Rehel

    Everyone is pretty damn hung up on the AESTHETICS of the new $5 and $10 bills in Canada. Me? I'd like money that WORKS in vending machines

  • Brittlestar

    @Cmdr_Hadfield Dude, with all the stuff you’ve had up there (guitars, Easter eggs, new $5 bills), how BIG was your suitcase?