What is counterfeit money?

Counterfeiting is the oldest technique used by fraudsters to cheat unsuspecting individuals of their money. Here, the fraudster may handover an imitation currency in exchange for real bank notes under various pretexts like making change or offering help.

What you can do to avoid being a victim of counterfeit notes:

Know your Bank Note - Security Features on Indian Banknotes

Watermark: The Mahatma Gandhi Series of banknotes contain the Mahatma Gandhi watermark with a light and shade effect and multi-directional lines in the watermark window.

Latent Image: On the obverse side of the note, a vertical band on the right side of the Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait contains a latent image showing the respective denominational value in numeral. The latent image is visible only when the note is held horizontally at eye level.

Microlettering: This feature appears between the vertical band and Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait. It contains the word ‘RBI’ in Rs.5 and Rs.10. The notes of Rs.20 and above also contain the denominational value of the notes in microletters. This feature can be seen better under a magnifying glass.

Intaglio Printing: The portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, the Reserve Bank’s seal, guarantee and promise clause, Ashoka Pillar Emblem on the left, RBI Governor's signature are printed in intaglio i.e. in raised prints, which can be felt by touch in Rs.20, Rs.50, Rs.100, Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes.

Identification mark: A special feature in intaglio has been introduced on the left of the watermark window on all notes except Rs.10/- note. This feature is in different shapes for various denominations (Rs. 20-Vertical Rectangle, Rs.50-Square, Rs.100-Triangle, Rs.500-Circle, and Rs.1,000-Diamond) and helps the visually impaired to identify the denomination.

Optically Variable Ink: This is a new security feature incorporated in the Rs.1,000 and Rs.500 notes with revised colour scheme introduced in November 2000. The numerals 1,000 and 500 on the obverse of Rs.1,000 and Rs.500 notes respectively is printed in optically variable ink viz., a colour-shifting ink. The colour of the numeral 1,000/500 appears green when the note is held flat but would change to blue when the note is held at an angle.

See through Register:  The small floral design printed both on the front (hollow) and back (filled up) of the note in the middle of the vertical band next to the Watermark has an accurate back-to-back registration. The design will appear as one floral design when seen against the light.

Fluorescence: Number panels of the notes are printed in fluorescent ink. The notes also have optical fibres. Both can be seen when the notes are exposed to ultra-violet lamp.