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Thursday, 8 July 2010

Fake notes are doing their rounds in ATM machines in Mumbai

and you can do nothing about it. Talk about trusting your bank? Well… that trust goes down the drain.

No bank will ever take any responsibility for the bank notes that are circulating from their ATM machines. If you have a fake note in your pocket, too bad! It’s your bad luck! Sigh!!

Today early morning, in a hurry to pay my web designer a fee of Rs5000, I rushed to the nearest ATM cabin, which is just outside the Bank of India, opposite National college, and extracted the money from the ATM machine.

But my web designer is smart lady, (maybe she has lots of time on hand, or maybe she had been cheated once, because she has made a study of each note and could distinguish the fake note in a jiffy). She checked each note before taking it from me.. and Lo! Behold! One of the one-thousand-rupee-notes was a fake note.

“This note I cannot take, it’s fake note” she said

“But, Maam, I have just removed this from ATM machine this morning, how can it be a fake note?” I said.

And she started to educate me.

She held the note up against the light and looking closely, she said, “Array baba, see the watermark na…this watermark on the empty portion on the left side of the note? Can you see that? One should be able to see a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi in this space, along with multi-directional lines and an electrolyte mark showing the denominational numeral, see, there is no 1000 numeration mark here.”

I looked at her with blank look

She took out the authentic note from her cash box and told me to look closely, “Can you see 1000 numerals in this corner?”

serial no 2BD 579808 is a fake note

At first I couldn’t see anything nor distinguish it but when I held it against the light, I was able to see the numerals. Then she gave me the fake note and showed me the difference. Sure enough, those numerals were missing.

‘Hmmmn” I said

She held the note at eye-level and said, “Look into the gap between the vertical band on the right and the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi. In genuine notes, one should be able to see the word RBI and the denominational numeral in this space.”

True, transparent numerals '1000' were not visible in fake note.

“Now see the micro-lettering too,” she continued “Hold the note up against light. On the left of the portrait and half down the vertical band on the side, one can see a floral design, which appears hollow on the front side and filled up on the opposite side. The denominational numeral can be seen as a whole in this floral design, though the half of the numeral is printed on one side and the other half on the opposite side.”

“Even the visually impaired person can identify the fake note.” She said, stressing her point on ‘visually impaired’, “Look below the floral design. One can see a dark patch in intaglio print (raised print). The shape of the intaglio print varies according to the denomination of the note. Did you know that there are different shapes for various denominations? There are vertical rectangle on Rs20 note, Rs50 - square, Rs100 - triangle, Rs500 - circle and Rs1,000 – diamond.”

I had never known that. My interest was deepening and I wanted to know more about it.

I listened with rapt attention as she told me about other features that appear in intaglio print like: Seal of the RBI, the guarantee and the promise clause, RBI Governor's signature, the Ashoka pillar emblem, and Mahatma Gandhi portrait, all of them had a raised effect.

Even the color of the numeral changed from green (when I held the note flat) to blue (when at an angle).

She then, pointed to the security thread on the note and said, “Look at this line here, this is a security thread. It is 1.4 mm wide. It appears in breaks on the front of the original note. However, from the back, it looks like a complete line. The words RBI and Bharat (in the Devanagari script) is inscribed on it. It appears yellow in ultra-violet (UV) light. This thread will not glow if it is a fake note. Continuity of the security thread is not maintained if it is a fake note.”

I saw the green glow on the real note. Wow!

I kept comparing the fake note with authentic note, seeing the difference for the first time. I had never ever held a fake note but today, I wanted to know everything about it.

“Now let me tell you what features one can see in UV light?” she said, as she took both the notes in her hand. Then she went on to explain to me about how the optical fibers on the bank note make themselves visible when held under ultraviolet light. (In case of a fake note, optical fibers are less in number), the year of printing of the original note is visible in the middle and the reverse side near the bottom, and how it has that unique feel and a crackling sound.

I felt cheated.

I took the fake note to the ‘Bank of India’ Khar, and I was directed to speak to the manager.

From the look on his face, I knew at once that it would be the waste of my time. Firstly, he did not believe me nor acknowledge it and I had to show him the receipt of the proof to convince him that the transaction was done from ATM outside his bank. He argued and I threatened to report it to the media. He got defensive and played the blame game, saying that ATM was not in his control that I must contact ‘Brink Arya India Pvt. Ltd’, a cash handling and secure logistics company and they are the ones who load all the cash in all ATM machine in Mumbai. He told me to search the details about this company online, and then post the complain note with photocopy of receipt of transaction and the fake note.

“Sorry I can do nothing about it” he said seeing my disappointed look. “Now-a-days, who can distinguish the real one from fake one?” he said “Tell me one thing, what makes you say that this note is fake?”

Now it was my turn to educate him. Whether he knew the difference or not, he did listen to me while I explained to him the difference. He expressed his helplessness at not having any control on this aspect, “There are so many notes out there in circulation, how can one have time to separate each one?” He asked.


I am left thinking what can one do about it? Nothing? I can afford to fold this one-thousand-rupee-note into eight folds, tuck it away and move on but what about those who find it difficult to earn a decent living? One thousand rupees is a lot of money to them, can they let it go?

Duplicate currency is manufactured in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The fake notes are brought into India through Nepal by Pakistan's ISI and other terrorist groups. The amount of fake Indian currency in existence today is huge. According to one national daily, in UP alone over Rs40 crores is estimated to be in circulation. This might be the tip of the iceberg. The fake notes generate easy money for terrorists which use it for antisocial activities.
How will this racket stop? How will they separate fake from authentic? Is there really nothing that we can do about it???

I am not very sure that I live in a secured world! As long as terrorists and criminals will keep on manufacturing such notes very intelligently, there is no hope! Nor any help!! Sigh!!


  1. Damn, isn't that scary. Lord. Good you retained the receipt.
    What has the world come to?

  2. Yeah scary it is Nive...but no use of the receipt..1000 notes is still useless.will try to use bribe some politician, hehee.:))


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