Frozen U.S. dollars (dollars with deactivated serial numbers) have been invading the Lebanese market for quite some time. Now, the situation is getting out of hand as even some banks are trading these banknotes without knowing it.
Nabil Bou Ghantous, the official representative of the Federation of European Chambers of Experts in Beirut, announced in a statement that “the frozen dollar, which is not fake, has invaded the Lebanese market for more than one month.”
“It is being traded even by money changers and some banks that are unable to distinguish between it and the real dollar,” he revealed.
This invasion of deactivated dollars, which are not viable for exchange, is causing more people to fall victim to fraud.
For instance, active traders of frozen dollar bills offer each frozen $50 banknote for a valid $20, making illicit profits off the backs of unsuspecting individuals.
“The largest part of these deactivated currencies are of the 50-dollar denomination, as for those of the 100 denomination, their numbers are less,” Bou Ghantous said.
They are imported from Libya, Iraq, Syria, and other countries, in the millions, before being sold in Lebanon.
What to do about it
Reiterating his previous warnings about this issue, the expert advised people, especially those who trade U.S. dollars on a daily or frequent basis, to take special precautions in order to ensure they don’t unknowingly replace their real money with unusable bills.
He advised people who need to obtain cash dollars to “withdraw them from banks only, obtaining from the bank the serial numbers of the received banknotes, in an official letter sealed and signed by the competent employee, so that the citizen preserves his [and her] right in the event of any problem in this framework.”
Finally, Bou Ghantous urged people to limit the use of dollars as an additional precaution, and to refrain from rushing to buy and store them because once inactive dollars are purchased, “there is no room for any compensation.”