It was the foregone weekend when I used my time to get some new clothes (I normally use the up until they are literally unusable). I went to one of the hotspots for cheap forgeries of any type of textile you can imagine, Avenida Jimenez, corner 15th, in the heart of Bogota. Here, close to the red light and juice shops one can find his own stolen phones and other things (so be warned). There are also many busy commercial centers.
I did not want to waste much time with shopping, since I knew what I was looking for and I went to first clothing store I saw. The vendor asks, walks for more choice, wants to satisfy my wishes and convince me to buy the entire store. In the end I am not taking much with me but the store looks like a messy hole after he unpacked almost all T-shirts and jumpers. We arrive at paying the bill and at the actual story.
The cheap plagiarized merchandise I pay for, does not cheer me up, once I realized that also the 10,000 Colombian Peso Bill was a counterfeit; and they did not put much effort in it. After the discovery of the well-trained vendors I quickly get back to a smile on my face. It is well clear to me that these guys have much more contact with counterfeits than the normal tourist and so they try to explain me what it was. “You got a wrong 10er there.” “Somebody has ripped you off mate”, “but you can enter a bank and ask for reimbursement”. Immediately, after the shock of course, I create plans as to what I would do with the bill, either to get rid of it with the same manner than I got it, or just keep it as a souvenir.
This is my own fault I resume, since I was not very conciouss about treating bills here in South America. Of course I know about the danger of counterfeits but I did not pay much attention to my own security regarding this issue. This is the result, I have about 4 euros less in my pocket. Especially if you are on a party and have had some drinks ripping you off becomes a lot easier. I assume that this must have happened some days ago when I was at a city festival with friends.
Like I said, the positive sensation about being actually ripped off weighs heavier than losing a tiny bit of money. It was the first time that I experienced this kind of fraud to myself and since I seek new situation around every corner I was actually smiling and like always not taking it as a warning sign to a very serious threat. Things would have been different if it would have been a 50,000 COP Bill.
What to take care about:
- Watersign, if you see none after holding the bill against a light source, do not accept.
- Colour and artwork, the momie on the counterfeit is a lot more pale than the original one above. Her hair does not have enough contrast, you cannot see the wisps as at the original
Here EVERYBODY takes time to prove ALL bills, from the street vendor to the supermarket cashier. You are better off following that, without any trade offs, unless, with a little luck, you want to get one of the best souvenirs available in Colombia.