The Fake Currency Dilemma: How To Spot A Fake

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Getting to work early in the morning can be the most dreadful thing for most. But for a few who love what they do for a living, its joy.

That was exactly in my mind this morning when I woke up, got ready for work, and on my way out, I realised my Jeep needed fuel.

So I made a stop on the way to work to fill some diesel. The early morning rush hour queue at the fuel station was a restless one as there were parents with kids to drop off at school, office going professionals who had the patience of an adrenaline filled mongoose and to top it up, the sleep deprived and grumpy fuel station attendants.

So I waited calmly till the tension went down and the darting two-wheeler traffic settled, and finally got some diesel in my tank.

I handed over cash, a few hundreds to the attendant for filling diesel and just when I thought I can finally get on with my routine in the traffic towards work, the attendant checking the note returned it, asking for a replacement.

Taken aback, I asked him why and his reply was plain— It's a fake 100-rupee note. Now, even more curious, and aware of the fact that there are many fake currencies circulating, I asked him how he found out?

Note: This comparison is for notes printed after 2005. Currency notes printed before 2005 are not circulated frequently any more so people take advantage of this situation to print fake currency notes.

Here is the comparison:

Original Currency:

When looked at closer and in good light, one can make out the the number 100 imprinted in two places where the red circle 1 highlights.

The other major thing to look for is the "rupee" symbol that is highlighted in the red circle marked 2.

Fake Currency:

The difference is immediately seen. There is no 100 imprint or the "rupee" symbol.

Serial Number:

Just one close look will help identify a fake note. The second major identification is the letter behind the serial number of the currency. In the fake currency note, there is a letter imprinted behind the serial number, where as in an original note will not have that and the serial number is printed clean.

The RBI Strip:

This is a very important thing to notice. A fake note will not have the vertical RBI strip where as an original currency will have it.

The Other Side:

Now when the note is flipped, the "rupee" symbol is not there again on the fake note. Also notice on the original currency note the year is mentioned at the bottom centre while the fake has no mention.


Hope these little pointers will help you find fake currency against the original. If the fake currency is spotted, notify the person and exchange it immediately. Even ATMs have high possibility of dispensing fake notes so there is no harm in being safe. If you are left with a number of such notes, inform the local police station at the earliest. Avoid re-circulating the note and tear it.

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