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Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 165
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 13
Traveler Since: 2005

July 09, 2010


1. Be aware counterfeiting is a major problem in Peru as well as most of South America. We were in Peru (OAT trip) a couple years ago and we even got a counterfit coin. It was a 5 soles coin similiar to the picture below:

I couldn't believe it. It was made from two metals, had printing on both sides, and was only worth about $1.67 (back then). I received it from a "legitimate" Chinese resturant in a Lima seaside strip mall. I couldn't tell the difference; however, the local merchants/vendors could and didn't want it. I tried three times (post office, flea market, and a store) and was unsucessful each time. I asked who would go to this much work to counterfit a coin worth just $1.67; and was basically told "this isn't the US, this is Peru, etc.". Counterfit bills & coins are in the system. Peruvians that get them don't throw the counterfit Peruvian money away (and lose the money) they just spend it and/or pass it on to someone else (like an unknowing tourist). Mine was passed to one of the Machu Picchu switchback runner kids; when he came on the bus for his tip, he got it. I'm sure that he knows how to "get rid of it" too.

2. In Peru they will take US dollars, but because of the counterfitting problems; they only want new US dollars. Many places will not take US dolars that are torn, marked on, or show any age. Note: A merchant can't take a chance on receiving counterfit US money, he can't just spend it or pass it on. He has to take it to a bank and exchange it for Peruvian soles. The bank won't take counterfit US dollars so if it turns out to be counterfit he (basically) loses the money. Check out a few news stories on the subject:

Author: johnchap2

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 4
GCT Trips Taken: 18
OAT Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 1998

July 15, 2010

Have run into the same demand for new US bills in SE Asia as well.  The irony is that the new bill is far more likely to be counterfeit than a clearly worn one.

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