Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Bank is Passing Out Counterfeit Bills

The other day our office guru, Connie, was given a counterfeit $500 peso note by the bank.  The electric company pointed it out to her as she was trying to pay our bills.  Luckily the teller at the electric company knows Connie, and just let her use another one instead.  However there have been cases where individuals passing counterfeit bills in Playa either knowingly or unknowingly have been thrown in jail.

It all started when Connie went to the bank to cash a check in order to obtain funds to pay our clients' electric bills.  The note was given to her by a teller along with a pile of other legitimate notes.  Connie then immediately went to the electric company. Apparently the teller at the electric company knew it was false since it did not pass the marker test where someone writes on the bill with a special pen and if the writing actually sticks then the bill is a fake.

Connie then immediately returned to the same bank to complain and get an authentic bill instead.  As a bit of background information going to the bank or electric company can be an ordeal with lines of up to an hour.  So imagine Connie has waited at the bank for at least a 1/2 hour, then 1 hour at the electric company and now has to go back to the bank and wait in line again.

When Connie spoke with the teller, the teller denied having given it to her.  The teller maintained that Connie could have gotten it anywhere and should have checked all the notes before leaving the bank.  The problem is that the lines in the bank are long, the tellers are impatient and to conceivably count out maybe thousands of dollars in bills can take quite a long time, never mind the risk of being seen counting so much money.

Connie then spoke to a manager, related the same story and was able to exchange the bill.  She scolded the manager and insisted it was the bank's responsibility to check all the notes being distributed.  Connie could have been thrown in jail for their mistake!  What if Allan or I had used the bill at a convenience store and then the clerk, having discovered the fake, called the police?!

Although I love living in Mexico very much, I am completely amazed that a bank would not check all the bills going out and coming in.  Did the teller do it intentionally?  Was it a simply a mistake?  I really don't know, but the fact that there is a risk of possibly being thrown in jail for unknowingly passing counterfeit bills certainly does not make me too happy.  I am aware that in the US there are many counterfeit bills still in distribution.  I would just think that a US bank would check all their notes first before giving them out to clients.  I guess I would expect the same in Mexico.  Regardless, I still think the risk is low, and does not concern me too much.  However it is certainly worth writing about!

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The beach at Tankah

The beach at Tankah

Allan at Casa Cenote

We watched this fisherman throw his net and catch a dozen fish

His catch

Me, Mary Lou and Allan at the Tulum Jazz Festival

Me before my tennis match in the most recent tennis tournament.  Unfortunately I lost this game.

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KfromMichigan said...

You need to get that special pen to check the bills! Don't want to get caught with a counterfeit! So sorry about Ricky. Schnauzers are my fav dogs. When mine died I was a wreck and haven't gotten another one. (yet)

Matt and Allan said...

Perhaps that might be a good idea, though with the number of bills we process it would seem like a long job, and not one we really are responsible for doing. Get another Schnauzer - they are great company!