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Fraud seminar shares secrets of counterfeit cash detection

Millions of dollars are lost every year to fraud.

That’s why the RCIPS Financial Crimes Unit, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, and the Chamber of Commerce have put together a fraud prevention seminar.

The old GI Joe cartoons used to say ‘knowing is half the battle.’ That’s similar to the pro-active approach police said they have taken to fighting fraud. Police said through their public outreach efforts, millions of dollars have been saved.

From phishing and employment scams to cyber-crimes, retail and banking professionals and business owners gleaned some valuable insight in how to stay one step ahead of fraudsters, and it starts with knowing your money.

Money never made anyone happy, a wise man once said, but still, some will stop at nothing to get more of it.

“Anything that can be created once can be re-created,” said Clare Lloyd Williams of De La Rue, long-time supplier of Cayman Islands banknotes, said staying one step ahead of counterfeiters is the name of the game in protecting the cash supply chain.

Rule number one: keep it fresh.

“If your banknotes haven’t changed in 40 years, then those banknotes are going to be quite easy to forge,” she said.

To an audience of front-line cash-handling staff and business owners, Ms. Williams showed how to tell a legitimate CI banknote from a phony.

“It is quite a complex process, it takes quite a lot of time. There’s a reason for that: if it was easy, that would make the counterfeiters job easy,” she said of the laborious printing process.

Some of the security features stand out, like the holographic band on the $100 note.

“What you’ll find with security features, people look for bling,” said Ms. Williams.

Other security features take advantage of what we can’t see. Crab markings on all notes are only visible under ultraviolet light. The markings also enable machines to tell a ten dollar bill from a 25.

“If you don’t tell people what to look for, effectively, you’re wasting your effort,” said Ms. Williams.

Vital information for anyone who handles cash, because knowing is half the battle.

It’s important to note, the monetary authority says it is unable to provide compensation for those who come into possession of bogus cash, one reason why it’s so important to stay vigilant when handling cash.

Cayman Islands Currency Check Rules

  1. Queen’s Head – Every CI Currency note has a picture of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, shown from the shoulder up.  This is printed only on the front of the note.
  2. Serial Number -Every CI currency note has a unique serial number printed in black in the top left and bottom right on the front of the note.
  3. Watermark – Every CI currency note has a watermark in the shape of a turtle, visible when held up to the light.  The watermark is located to the left of the front of the note.   The ‘C’ series have the word ‘CIMA’ as part of the watermark above the turtle.
  4. Embedded Thread– In most CI currency note a thin black vertical line is visible when the note is held up to the light.
  5. Silver Window Thread –   On the front of all notes in the ‘C’ series there is a reflective silver thread running in a straight line, in and out of the note in a straight line. The thread is imprinted with the words ‘Cayman Islands’

In the event that you do come across these notes, it is suggested that you follow the below:

  1. Do not return suspicious banknote to passer
  2. Observe description and other identifiers of the passer
  3. Contact the Police at
  4. Write initials on the corner of the note
  5. Avoid touching the note as much as possible
  6. Place the note into an envelope
  7. Hand the banknote over to the Police

Anyone with information about this counterfeit currency is encouraged to call George Town Police Station at  or the Financial Crime Unit at . Anonymous tips can be provided directly to the RCIPS via our Confidential Tip Line at  or via the Miami-based call centre of Crime Stoppers at (TIPS), or online at the link: 



About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at or send an email to

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