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Warning up on fake peso bills

/ 04:23 PM April 03, 2014

Superintendent Alexander Tagum, Chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Anti-Organized Crime Unit, placing side-by-side counterfeit P500 bill to the original. JULLIANE LOVE DE JESUS/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines–Beware of counterfeit peso bills circulating in public markets and malls, police warned the public on Thursday.

The warning was issued after operatives seized another batch of fake P500 bills in Taguig City.

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Superintendent Alexander Tagum, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group‎ Anti-Organized Crime Unit chief, told reporters that counterfeiters have now become sophisticated.

The teams from the CIDG AOCU and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas recently arrested two intermediaries in an entrapment operation along C5 Road, Phase 2 in Taguig City.

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After another tipoff, the two teams conducted a month-long surveillance and arrested taxi driver Virgilio Bocabar and ‎his live-in partner Violeta Bendiojo for selling a stack of P500 fake bills worth P50,000 stuffed in a long white envelope.

The suspects sold a P200 bill for P50, P500 bill for P100, and P1,000 for P150,

Tagum said ‎they had to delay the release of Bocabar and Bendiojo’s arrest to the media so as not to affect the follow-up investigation.

“But the CIDG decided to inform the public that there had been counterfeit P1,000, P500, and P200 bills circulating in public markets and malls,” he said.

Expressing alarm over criminals brazenly selling fake money, Tagum said the fake bills have already reached some provinces in the Visayas and Luzon.

“If you look at the fake P500 bill [casually], [you] would not notice. Some can no longer distinguish which is the counterfeit and original,” he said.

Asked if the suspects are working for a syndicate,‎ Tagum said they operate in groups but declined to give further details.

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Look, feel, tilt

The police official said one only has to “look, feel and tilt” to determine a counterfeit bill.

First, “look” at the bill.

“If you look closely, the original bill’s print is very sharp,” Tagum said, noting that the prints of the fake ones appear blurry.

But with the availability of advanced ‎printing equipment, he said many people would most likely be fooled.

Second, “feel” the bill.

“The texture of the original bill is thick and coarse, while the fake ones are smooth,” Tagum said.

Finally, “tilt” the money.

“If you tilt the genuine P500 bill, you will see a watermark of our national heroes Cory Aquino and Ninoy Aquino,” he said.

Also, the national bird in the security seal of an original ‎bill is “prominently imprinted.”

“But the good thing here is that when paper bills are subjected to Ultraviolet Light (scanner), it can easily detect fake bills,” he said.

The official also urged vendors, who cannot afford UV light scanners, to buy a UV light pen for easy detection of fake bills.

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TAGS: ‎Alexander Tagum, Anti-Organized Crime Unit, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, BSP, CIDG, counterfeit bills, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Violeta, Virgilio
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