I went to BDO today to take some cash. Since the ATM machine was being serviced, I was prompted to withdraw over the counter. I only needed P1,500 so the teller gave me one one thousand bill, 2 two hundred bill and a 50 peso bill. Since my account was held in Manila, they charged me P50 for the withdrawal since my account was out of town.
When I got home, my water delivery guys came and I paid them with my One Thousand Bill. Since they did not have any change, they promised to return in a few minutes to get the change since they are buying gas at the nearby Shell Station. I said okay since the water company has been delivering my water for the past 6 months and they have been very reliable with delivery and such.
After an hour, they came back and told me my money was fake and the Shell Station refused to take my money– as they tried to pay their gas with the One Thousand in order to get some change. I looked at them and stared them down to see if they were lying. Ofcourse none of them even blinked (they said blinking or looking at the left side might be a sign of deception). They said that the Shell people thinks my bill was a fake. So I took the money back and asked why they think it was fake. They said it felt funny. Ofcourse, it felt funny, my then crispy bill from the bank was now soft, thanks to the manhandling of the Shell people. They have rubbed and crumpled my bill until it turned into mush. I flipped the money and checked if the shadow (konsensya) was present and it was! The usual marker or ribbon like material weaved on the bill was also present. Apart from the soft texture of the bill, they appear alright to me.
So what now?
What if the bill was indeed fake? Where did exactly did it come from? The only place where I got the money was straight from BDO, unless those water people switched my bill with a fake one. If the money indeed came from BDO, were they liable for giving out fake currency? If someone unwittingly passed on a fake currency to you, what are you supposed to do? Can we just return the fake bill and be replenished? Perhaps, I can test this and go to BDO 2 days from now and check if they will replace the said bill. Hmmm…
This also reminded me of an old email from my husband’s colleague and she actually complained that BDO in SM Megamall gave her 2 fake One Thousand Bill. This happened years ago. With the holiday related spending on the rise, we should be wary of bills exchanging on our hands. According to the water guys, they actually got fake Two Hundred Peso bills last week. They have been forewarned and is on the lookout for fake Thousand Bills too.
I checked online and did not really find anything substantial about what the government can do in the event a fake currency falls into our hands, apart from yes, you can get into prison for passing fake currency around. But, how about on instances wherein you have no idea you were totting a fakie?
The color is too vivid
The paper is too smooth.
The shadows were not present
The ribbon weaved into the paper is not even there.
If you suspect a fake bill, you can report it to the nearest police station. Doing so will help you trace where the fake might have originated. There is however no clear guidelines on how one can get a refund if lets say the counterfeit indeed came from a legal institution like your own bank or even a huge retail store (for example SM). We just have to be careful and be vigilant as bills exchange our hands.