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Can you recognize a counterfeit note?

August 25, 2009 15:48 IST
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Good fakes are getting better, nowadays! Well, one would say this on seeing the latest series of fake Indian Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes in circulation. They seem to have been printed on the same security paper and have security features that only government security presses can provide. Of late, even counterfeit notes of Rs 100 denomination are giving the government sleepless nights.

Unofficially, government sources claim that fake currency in circulation is worth almost Rs 1.7 lakh crore (Rs 1.7 trillion) -- 2006 estimates, and growing. Although the government does not admit this, the menace of counterfeiting seems to have forced its hand.

It is estimated that nearly 20 per cent of fake currency is padded in most land-related transactions that take place in black. India is experiencing an 'overheated' economy, the currency transactions are at a feverish pitch, making the circulation of counterfeit currency easy. The counterfeit notes find themselves in general circulation with ease and create havoc in the economy.

A huge amount of counterfeit notes is brought in from across the borders and introduced into the system in a bid to cause economic turmoil. Often, anti-social activities are funded by these fake notes, which slowly creep into the mainstream economy.

Of late, even ATMs are reported to be dispensing fake currency -- a new problem that banks and customers have to reckon with. It is a punishable offence to be in possession of fake currency, and if you are unable to explain its origin, you could land up in jail.

How would you recognize a fake note? Well, the Reserve Bank of India has issued certain guidelines to detect counterfeits. Some of the common ways to detect fake are Watermark, Security Thread, Colour and Fluorescence.


Mahatma Gandhi's image is visible in the background of the currency note, when held against a light.


Different colours, patterns and images on currency notes are visible under ultra violet light

Security Thread:

Currency notes have a special silver security thread, which contain the words 'RBI' and 'Bharat' (in Devnagari script).


Number panels on notes are printed with fluorescent ink and they glow when placed under detector.

If you were to hold a currency horizontally, at eye level, you will notice the denomination inscribed on the panel below the number on the right edge of the note. This is another easy method to verify the notes.

It is essential for you to be wary of the currency notes you receive during a cash transaction. As far as possible, conduct transactions by cheque or be electronic means of money transfer, to minimize possibilities of being stuck with fake notes.

When you withdraw notes from an ATM or your bank, you can explain the source of the notes -- but you cannot explain or remember where you got a fake note from, if you've been dealing with large volumes of cash.

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