Counterfeit Alert in Ghana
As I was paying my bus fare the other day, conductor turned to me and said: 'Boss, please take a look at your money'. We both examined it comparing it to another 10 Cedi note and realized mine was counterfeit.
A day later, my gut saved me from being "short changed" with yet another counterfeit note, this time a 5-Cedi one. What made me suspicious was its colour and the nature of the print. It was too dark. I drew the attention of the taxi driver who also took time to examine it and confirmed my suspicion.
These incidents make me suspect there may be some more counterfeit notes in the system and we may be transacting business with these notes without knowing. But how can we identify them? Here are a few pointers to guide you:
1. Listen to your gut. If you feel there is something wrong with the note you have been given, pause and check - there probably is. At first glance you may notice the quality of printing is a bit suspect. Yes, we are in a developing country but we still can afford quality printing for our currency.
2. The feel of the paper may give you another clue. The counterfeit notes feel "lighter" and not crisp enough - the original note is heavier, and often crisp - easy to notice when the note is not too old.
3. The size of the note could also help you spot the difference. The counterfeit note is smaller than the original.
However these differences can easily be spotted when you have an original note to compare with. If you don't have one here are some details to lookout for.
On the front of the note (with the picture of the big Six), look for the watermark in the star under the denomination on the left of the note. The watermark should have three characters- the face of Tetteh Quarshie: showing his neck, a cocoa pod and a the denomination - in this case 10. These characters should only be visible when the note is held up to light.
The counterfeit has something which looks like a child's drawing to pass for the water mark (and this is visible even when the note is not held to light).
On the back of the note the character on top of the gold bars turns into the denomination - in this case 10, when held to light.
These pointers should help you identify a counterfeit note and avoid unpleasant situations.