Counterfeit bills can be difficult to spot. In China, you never know when and where you may receive fake bills. Will it be at a street vendor’s? A local convenience store? Restaurant? Or even ATM? Unless you plan to bring a counterfeit detector every time you shop or travel, some knowledge of how to tell the differences between counterfeit and genuine RMB notes would prove useful.
People’s Daily has made an image that provides some pointers for identifying a fake bill. Here is our translated English version:
The serial numbers of fake bills can start with TJ55, AZ88, WL15, YX86, and PL078574.
The Economic Observer pointed out that “a new batch of high-quality fake 100 yuan notes have entered circulation in some areas of the country.” Their characteristics:
1. 2mm shorter than genuine notes
2. The small 100 that appears on the bottom left-hand side of the note (again, on the side with the serial number), should be printed with color-changing ink. as the fakes simply use green ink, the number won’t change color. If the note is real, the color of the 100 will change from blue to green as you adjust the angle from which you look at it
3. Lack the “100” watermark in the top right hand corner of the side with the serial number on it. (see image below)
4. The “security line,” the dark visible line that runs the width of the note, is transparent and unclear, and unlike on a real bill it is disjointed.
Aside from this new batch, what are the details to pay attention to when identifying counterfeit from genuine bills? The Central Bank also provides a checklist (Via The Economic Observer):
1. All of the fake notes that begin with these 4 serial numbers are produced on offset printing machines
2. The paper that the notes are printed on is smooth and crispy and doesn’t glow when placed under an ultraviolet light because there’s no fluorescent fiber in the notes
3. The transparent Mao visage that appears in the white area of the note is unclear and has no depth, the counterfeiters simply printed the image on the surface of the note with white ink
4. The fake watermarks on the notes are not as transparent as those that appear on authentic notes
5. The “security line,” the dark visible line that runs the width of the note, is printed on the fakes rather than appearing within the note as it does on real bills
6. The “mini characters” that appear in the top left-hand corner of the side of the note with the serial number on it aren’t clear on the fake notes. The mini characters refer to the tiny “100 RMB” that appears repeatedly within the small pink 100 that appears on the top left-hand corner of the bill.
7. There’s a mismatch between some of the patterns printed on each side of the fake bills
8. The small 100 that appears on the bottom left-hand side of the note (again, on the side with the serial number), should be printed with color-changing ink. as the fakes simply use green ink, the number won’t change color. If the note is real, the color of the 100 will change from blue to green as you adjust the angle from which you look at it
9. There are irregular gaps between the digits that make up the serial number (in the bottom left-hand corner) of a fake note
10. On genuine notes, if you rub Mao’s shoulder or the two small reverse-L-shaped lines that appear in the bottom right-hand corner of the note, you’ll notice that they stick out. On some fake notes these will feel smooth if you rub them, on other fakes it will feel as they’ve been engraved
11. Directly to the right of the green/blue 100 in the bottom left-hand corner is another invisible “100” that only appears when the note is held up to the light. Some fake notes do not use colorless fluorescent ink and thus you will not be able to see this 100. Some of the fakes attempt to show the invisible “100” but the quality is noticeably inferior to that of a genuine note.