Travel Safety EcuadorCulture Shock! Ecuador: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette
October 12, 2009
COUNTERFEIT CURRENCY NOTES CONTINUE TO CIRCULATE IN CUENCA
If you live in or are visiting Cuenca be on alert that large
amounts of counterfeit currency is still circulating per El Tiempo. Previous
reports reveal that Peru is a major manufacturer of counterfeit bills.
However, many criminals have become very skilled at altering certain
denominations to appear to be a larger amount. Here is a quick primer to try to
avoid this scam.
- Many of the counterfeit bills are in one, two, and five
- The two dollar bill in the United States is very rare and
is about one percent of the bills in circulation.
- Skilled counterfeiters can alter a bill to look like a
1=10, 2= 20, 5=50, 10=100.
- Many counterfeit bills are so well done by sophisticated
equipment that markers and electronic systems designed to detect them are
- Paper currency is composed of 25% linen and 75% cotton
which makes it resistant to folds and creases as compared to the false item.
- A true bill will be able to be folded about 4,000 times
before it breaks. Fakes don't fold as well.
- A true bill has clear lines and high relief. False bills
will have a topography that is rough in irregular.
- Except for $1 and $2 dollar denominations there is a
security thread which you can see if you hold it to the light.
- The watermark image has an identical portrait that is on
the bill and can be seen on both sides of the bill when held against the
- Make sure that the number on the bill matches the written
description of the denomination. For example - a bill that is a $50 note
will also state in writing fifty dollars
- Portraits on bills are as follows: $1 = George
Washington, $2 = Thomas Jefferson, $5 = Abraham Lincoln, $10 = Alexander
Hamilton, $20 = Andrew Jackson, $50 = Ulysses Grant, and $100 = Benjamin
- Bills have separate serial numbers. Identical serial
numbers are an indication the bills are counterfeit.
- Make sure you don't accept money which has been altered
by writing in any form on the bill, torn, or damaged. Once you have done so
you will have great difficulty finding any merchant that would accept them.
- Don't let any merchant or hotel give you $50 or $100
notes as again you will have difficulty finding anyone that will accept
them. There is a saying in Ecuador "that a man in Ecuador with a $100 bill,
is a man with no money. There are even instances when banks will not accept
them. They usually can be received by the Central Bank of Ecuador.
- It has been reported that some ATM's have dispensed
- Always try to request change in the smallest
denominations as possible.
- Don't be offended by merchants that inspect the money you
have paid for your items or services with. This is a very serious problem.
- When going to Ecuador make sure not to take $50 or $100
- Make sure any money you take with you is clean and not
torn. It is wise before you go on your trip to visit your bank and request
new or at least clean bills. Explain you are going to Ecuador and that
counterfeiting is a real problem and that vendors are very particular about
what bills they will accept.
- Remember no one in Ecuador ever has enough change.
- Recommend not to accept any two dollar bills. Since they
are so rare there may be a high probability they are counterfeit.
- Be alert, be astute, don't be taken.