India Survival Guide

How To Avoid Fake Money & Ripped Notes in India

India is a cash economy and counterfeit money is always in circulation. There are hundreds of millions of dollars of it floating around.

To avoid getting stuck with it you need to know what’s real and what’s not as shopkeepers will always try to pawn off their fake currency to unsuspecting foreigners.

Once it’s in your hands, no one will take it off you. You’ll notice all shopkeepers scrutinizing cash before accepting it for this very reason.

Fake ₹500 & ₹2000 rupee notes

There are 17 security measures on these notes but you only need to know 1 or 2.

Here are the top 3 best ways to check a bill is not counterfeit:

  1. Mahatma Gandhi’s head appears in the watermark window when you hold it up to the light.
  2. The security thread colour changes from green to blue as you tilt the note up and down repetitively.
  3. There are 5 raised lines on the left and right of the ₹500 note (7 on the ₹2000 note). They’re so thick that when you run your finger down them, you can feel they’re not flush with the note.
The top 3 ways to identify if a rupee note is counterfeit.
Here’s all 11 security features on the ₹500 rupee note.

Don’t accept ripped notes!

No shopkeeper in India will take a ripped noted from you, but they’ll sure try and give you their ripped notes!

Always check every note you receive immediately in front of the person who gave it to you to make sure they’re in good condition with no tears or weird stains all over them.

Beware: No one accepts ripped notes in India. Photo © Karl Rock.
Beware: No one accepts ripped notes in India.

If there’s something wrong with the note, hand it back to the cashier and ask for another – they’ll replace it for you.

If you do end up with a ripped note, take it to a bank and they will usually change it for you.

Fake ₹10 rupee coin

10 rupee coins are the most common counterfeit floating around, especially in North India. The real coin (left) has only 10 flower petals, it has the rupee symbol, and the 10 crosses both the silver and gold part of the coin.

The Reserve Bank of India has issued a statement saying both ₹10 coins are real.

However, the coin on the right is considered by shopkeepers to be fake in New Delhi and surrounding areas, so I like to avoid it so I don’t get stuck with it.

Real vs fake 10 rupee coin

India Survival Guide Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Travel Essentials: Before You Travel to India
  3. Arriving in India: Getting to Your Hotel & Airport Amenities
  4. Tourist Scams to Avoid in India
  5. Avoiding Fake Money & Ripped Notes in India
  6. Avoiding Bad Accommodation
  7. How to Bargain, Get Refunds, and How Much Rickshaws Cost
  8. Avoiding Counterfeit Souvenirs in India
  9. How to Be Street Smart in India
  10. Buses and Trains in India Explained
  11. Food and Drink Safety for Travellers
  12. What to Do If You Get Sick in India
  13. How to Deal with Air Pollution in India

By Karl Rock

Karl Rock, is a Hindi speaking Kiwi ex-pat who take viewers behind the scenes of incredible India and its neighbours. He has visited every state and union territory in India, and its culturally similar neighbours – Pakistan and Bangladesh, and aims to make others fall in love with India and the subcontinent.

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