Beware of ATMs dispensing fake money

(CNN Philippines) — Fake Philippine peso bills seem to be spreading through an unexpected source—ATMs.

Anthony Castro withdrew P2,000 from a trusted bank's automatic teller machine (ATM) and what he received were counterfeit bills.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said bank employees are trained to detect fake money, but admits there could be lapses along the way due to lack of information or lack of skill of the people manning the ATM.

"I have received fake money, what now?"

The BSP Cash Department's Acting Deputy Director Maja Gratia Malic said those who have counterfeit money are required to submit such bills to the BSP or to a bank, but they will not get a refund.

"That's a loss on their part," Malic said.

Malic assured the public that the BSP has not received any recent reports of fake money from banks.

Banks that do not follow the requirements BSP will get administrative sanctions.

"The maximum penalty is the closing of the branch," she said.

How to spot fake money

The BSP has issued tips so that you will not become a victim of receiving counterfeit money.

It's simple: Touch. Look. Tilt.

Run your fingers over the bill, especially over the pictures. Real money is not smooth and has the feel of ridges.

You may hold your bill against the light, where you should see a three-dimensional effect in the watermark.

The hologram of higher denominations, such as the 500-peso and P1,000 bills, change color from green to reddish, depending on the angle.

The window strip is shiny. If you look closely, it has the BSP initials in tiny letters.

When in doubt, turn over suspicious bills to the BSP or the nearest bank.

Castro has learned his lesson: "Next time, withdraw over the counter and always check."