What do to do if you find yourself with fake cash

What if you end up with a fake currency note either from an ATM or during a cash transaction? Well we tell you how you can handle the situation.

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Many of us welcomed the recent demonetisation drive and assumed that the problem of FICN or Fake Indian Currency Notes will go away for a good period of time. However, since the new currency notes were not known to everyone, some anti-social elements used high-quality printing machines to print fake notes and circulated them. While the law did catch up with many; the recent case of SBI ATM dispensing fake Rs.2000/- notes showed how vulnerable our system really is.

So, what if you end up with a fake currency note either from an ATM or during a cash transaction? Well we tell you how you can handle the situation.  

Related: Going on a vacation? Here are some common scams you might encounter

If you realise you have withdrawn a counterfeit/fake note

  1. Plan A: Point it towards the security camera.
  2. Plan B: Check with the guard and file a complaint with him.
  3. Plan C: Go to a branch of the bank whose ATM you have used and show them the printed receipt and tell them about the note. Push them to check CCTV footage of that ATM branch in case they require more proof. Make sure you get an acknowledgment receipt and ask them to file a FIR.


  • If the bank finds up to 4 counterfeit notes dispensed to you in 1 transaction, they will impound the notes and stamp them with ‘counterfeit banknote impounded’ and give you an acknowledgement copy
  • If, however, 5 or more notes are found in a single transaction, they will inform the nodal office immediately and file a complaint with Police with your details
  • You can then take these documents and visit your bank to get the notes replaces.
  1. Plan D: In case the bank refuses to take any action, contact regional RBI office at the earliest.
  2. Plan E: If nothing else works, consider going down to a police station and filing an FIR.
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In case someone gives you a fake note:

This is the most depressing situation, because no bank will take any responsibility or give you money in return for the fake note. Thus, the only recourse is tp inform the nearest police station or magistrate office on finding a fake note.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: DO NOT TRY AND re-circulate the fake note, because if you are caught doing so, the repercussions could be huge. Knowingly circulating fake currency notes is a punishable offense under the law. 

Issues that may still arise:

  • The ATM may refuse to give you a receipt following a bank’s “Go Green” initiative
  • You may leave the ATM without realising it’s fake, and later discover that the ATM did not have a CCTV camera
  • You may lose the withdrawal receipt

Related: Identity checks to be mandatory for cash dealings of above Rs.50,000

Thus, these are the precautions to take to avoid getting into this situation

  1. First of all, you should always make sure to print the receipt on withdrawal.
  2. Make sure your mobile banking is switched on and you receive a message about the withdrawal.
  3. Check every note that you get from the ATM before leaving the machine to see if it is counterfeit/fake. Here’s a quick guide.

Related: 5 Things to do if your financial information is stolen



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