Detecting Counterfeit Bills

One form of crime that is easy to fall victim to is receiving counterfeit bills. This generally does not involve losing large amounts of money as the largest bill in circulation is COP$ 50,000 and this is worth about US$ 26.00 at today’s exchange rate (TRM). It is however very embarrassing to try to buy something with such a bill and be told it is no good!

The Bank of the Republic has a web site that shows each of the bills in circulation and text that explains the anti-counterfeiting features. This site can be accessed through this link. Once you are at the bank´s site just click on a link to a bill, for example, billete de 50.000 and an image of the bill is displayed. Hovering the cursor over the text to the right brings up the information on each of the measures.

The text is in Spanish. I may try to provide a translation of this information at some point in the future. Stay tuned…

Some Prices on Everyday Food Items

These are taken from this week’s flyer from Carrefour. The price in US dollars is based on an exchange rate of 1988 pesos per dollar.

White Rice 5 kg for 10,600 pesos or $5.36 dollars ($0.43/lb)

Brown Sugar 2.5 kg for 4690 pesos or 2.36 dollars ($0.43/lb)

Soy oil 3000 ml for 12,590 pesos or 6.33 dollars ($0.06/oz)

Olive Oil 1000 ml for 12,990 pesos or 6.53 dollars ($0.19/oz)

Quaker Instant Oatmeal 180 gr for 2490 pesos or 1.25 dollars ($0.20/oz)

Oreo Cookies 432 gr for 3990 pesos or 2.01 dollars ($0.13/oz)

Brown Eggs 30 each for 5890 pesos or 2.96 dollars ($0.10/egg)

White Bread 480 gr. for 1990 pesos or 1.00 dollar ($0.06/oz)

Health Care: Susalud

We just finished up getting my 98 (99 at the end of October) year old mother covered under my health care policy from work. It took a long time but much of the delay was caused by us not filling out forms properly. Of course insurance companies are much the same every where. They don’t want to take on risk. Colombian law however, requires that they cover family members of folks who have insurance through their workplace.

The premium for this service is about $US 65.00 per month. This includes home care when necessary. Compared with the almost $US 500.00 per month we paid in San Diego and with no coverage for an elderly parent I am happy. Very happy!

BTW the name of the provider is Susalud and at this point I have to recommend them highly. The service they have provided me and my family has been very good.

Small Change

When you make a bank withdrawal or obtain a reasonable amount of cash in some other way you generally get 20,000 and 50,000 peso bills. These are great to save space in the wallet. Many small businesses however have a shortage of small bills and changing large ones can be a pain in the neck for them. This is often the case in rural areas. It is good idea to hang on to some smaller bills for such situations.

Counterfeiting is a problem here and since 20,000 and 50,000 peso notes are often targets, many people try to avoid them. I have been hit by bad bills on a couple of occasions. I will post information on how to detect funny money in the future.