DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – UAE residents have been advised to be wary of fake money that is still making rounds and finding their way into the till. According to exchange houses in the UAE, they have intercepted fake US dollars, euros, Great British pounds and Indian rupees during money transfer or exchange transactions.
It appears that the problem is growing, with more than $147 million worth of fake US dollar bills still circulating around the world in 2015 alone, according to the United States Secret Service.
Although money transfer operators have stepped up their drive against counterfeits, consumers would do well to do their share in exercising vigilance. This is because even if they have no intention to use counterfeit, they could still be reported to the authorities if they accidentally use one at the cashier.
“As per regulation, we are required to report to the police if the banknote is a confirmed fake. The police will then begin their investigation with the customer directly and will follow their proceedings based on the information collected,” says Rajiv Raipancholia of the Foreign Exchange and Remittance Group (FERG), an organisation of money transfer outlets in the UAE.
The FERG secretary and CEO of Orient Exchange says there are many ways to spot fake currencies and one of them is to invest in a detection device. These gadgets can range from an easy-to-use pen that doesn’t cost a lot of money to a more sophisticated machine that is equipped with ultraviolet (UV), magnetic, watermark and micro-print detectors. Small or pocket-size devices are more practical for everyday use, or those who don’t deal with loads of cash.
“There are many suppliers for such [devices] in the UAE,” Raipancholia says.
“[There are] different types of currency detectors [that] can be used depending on the requirement of the companies and the individuals. The most common are machines that detect through various security features such as watermark and ultraviolet detection.”
“It all depends on the amount of bank notes counting that you do within your store/organisation. People that have high volume of banknotes to be counted need to go for more sophisticated machines that include magnetic and microprint detectors.”
If you’re really not up to buying a fake money detector, the most you can do is scrutinize every paper that goes into your wallet, especially when you’re dealing with huge amounts. Just remember to always “feel, look, check and tilt” every banknote.
“Feel the quality of the banknote, counterfeit bank note will always be slightly thicker than the real bank note,” says Raipancholia.
“The counterfeit bank note will feel like a photocopied paper. For a genuine bank note you need to feel the smooth and embossed texture of the note due to intaglio printing.”
When examining the bill, pay attention to the design. If it is fake, you should notice that the portrait on it is looking “dull or blurred”. “The portrait and other design are well defined in a genuine bill and appear to be sharp,” he adds.
Another detail to watch out for is watermark, a security feature that distinguishes a fake bill from a real one. “The bank note needs to be held up to a light to check for watermark. The bank note whether genuine or counterfeit can be determined depending on whether the watermark bears exactly the same image of the person whose portrait is on the bill,” says Raipancholia.
“[Also] tilt the banknote to view the color shifting security feature that is seen on certain banknotes.”
For those who are using a detector, one of the things to watch out for is the security thread, which runs from the top to the bottom of the note and it’s either embedded or threaded through the paper.
“You will have to hold the bank note up in light to see the strip and printing on it. An ultraviolet light will be required to look at the certain embedded security thread.”