A woman was caught using counterfeit S$50 notes- here’s how to tell if a note is fake

Those who suspect they have a counterfeit note must report it to the police, as holding on to these notes is illegal.
The Straits Times

A 30-year-old woman has been arrested for using counterfeit S$50 notes on 10 separate occasions at convenience stores and shops in Hougang and Tampines, the police said in a statement on Sunday (June 23).

Among the items seized during her arrest were a printer, printing paper, and stationery.

Earlier in June, the police warned the public to be cautious about receiving counterfeit notes, following reports of these notes being used to pay in shops and restaurants.

According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the most commonly counterfeited notes are S$10 polymer notes and S$50 paper notes.

Those who suspect they have a counterfeit note must report it to the police, as holding on to these notes is illegal.

Here are a few easy ways to tell if your note is real, without using a magnifying glass:


In general, real notes contain a hand-engraved portrait of the late President Yusof bin Ishak, and counterfeit versions often cannot reproduce the fine lines of the engraving.

Rachel Chia/Business Insider

Another way to check if a note is real is to hold the note up to the light.

You should be able to see a”clear and distinct” watermark portrait of Yusof Ishak on the left side of the note.

Rachel Chia/Business Insider

The surface of counterfeit notes also lacks an embossed feel, unlike on genuine notes.

This comes from a raised printing method applied on the national coat of arms, Yusof Ishak’s portrait, the word “SINGAPORE”, and braille dots in the top right corner of real notes.

Rachel Chia/Business Insider

Some counterfeit paper notes try to reproduce the kinegram, which is an an octagonal reflective foil on real notes.

However, the kinegrams on real notes shift when the note is tilted, while those on counterfeit versions do not.

Rachel Chia/Business Insider

For polymer notes, the kinegram is replaced with a gold patch in the shape of the Singapore Lion symbol.

You should be able to see the Singapore coat of arms if you tilt the gold symbol.

Rachel Chia/Business Insider

On real notes, there is a small Singapore Lion symbol on the bottom left corner of the front, and the bottom right corner of the back.

As real notes are printed simultaneously, the pictures of the lion should line up perfectly when held up to the light.

Rachel Chia/Business Insider

For those with good eyesight, real notes have tiny little letters spelling ‘BCCS’ or ‘MAS’ hidden in the shadows of the numerals 2, 5, 10, 50 or 100 on the front of the note.

Rachel Chia/Business Insider

Read also: