AMID the holiday rush, an official of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reminds the public to be vigilant against counterfeit bills.
BSP Cebu Regional Director Leonides Sumbi said most fake bills being circulated are P1,000, P500, and P200 denominations.
"Ang gusto namo, especially for small-time businesses, mga sidewalk vendors, they just don't look at the money closely, (but they also feel it)," said Sumbi.
The BSP director said one can immediately determine if they are holding a counterfeit bill by feeling the embossed texture on the upper portion of the bill. If it feels smooth like paper, chances are it is a fake bill.
Other security features in the New Generation Currency (NGC) banknotes include visible security fibers, an ascending serial number, and watermarks.
Under Article 166 of the Revised Penal Code, circulating fake money in connivance with forgers is punishable by reclusion temporal or 12 years and one day to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine not to exceed P10,000.
However, if it is not in connivance with forgers, circulation or use of fake money is punishable with a penalty of prision mayor or six years and one day to 12 years of imprisonment under Article 168 under the same code.
Sumbi has also warned the public against ATM skimming, especially after Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and Councilor Dave Tumulak fell prey to it recently.
Skimming happens when a skimming device, a card reader, is disguised to look like a part of the machine. The card reader saves the user's card number and PIN code and these are then replicated into a counterfeit copy for theft.
Cebu Bankers Club past president Maximo Rey Eleccion has also reminded ATM holders to change their PIN regularly, at least once a month.
The banker said skimmers usually take the money out of their victims' bank account around two to four weeks after the skimming incident. Hence, regularly changing one's PIN would stop skimmers from successfully getting money out of the system.