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Counterfeit Bill Procedures

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If a customer claims that two bills they received from the bank were counterfeit, what are the proper procedures for handling this situation and reporting it accordingly?

In this case we have different scenarios:

A) The customer did withdraw money from your bank and later found out that two bills are counterfeit.

B) The customer did withdraw money from your bank and went maybe to another bank, money changer or money service business where the teller switched the genuine bills with counterfeit ones and then gave them back to the customer. I have seen this happening in many parts of the world.

C) Your teller at the bank is part of some counterfeiting network and trying to pass fake bills out of the bank to customers by including a couple of bills (for example) in each $5000 and more cash withdrawals.

D) Your teller was a victim of another customer who passed those fake bills to them and later when the teller discovered it, in an attempt to avoid loss through paying the two fake bills from his own money, the teller passed those fake bills to the first customer who walked in your bank in that unlucky day for him/her!

In all cases, it is very hard (if not impossible) to prove the story of the customer or the teller.

My recommendations:

1) The bank should introduce "Cash Area Disclaimer" which is a sign posted on the teller window and says "The bank is not responsible for any (miscounting, shortage or counterfeits) in the cash withdrawals from your bank, after the customer leaves the teller window/counter". In other words, it is the sole responsibility of the customer to count/verify the amount and authenticity of bills before leaving the bank and under the sight of a bank supervisor or teller (preferably under a security camera, too).

2) If multiple complaints came from customers regarding one specific teller, that teller should be put under close monitoring by the supervisor.

3) Make sure to train your tellers on detecting counterfeits and fakes.

4) If the bank has no disclaimer as mentioned in #1, then the bank should:A) pay the customer in return for those two bills,
B) initiate an inside investigation (security officer should be involved) andC) Report the whole incident to Local Police or USSSas per regulation.

First published on 1/07/08

First published on 01/07/2008

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