By Alao Abiodun
When Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele announced plans to redesign the N200, N500 and N1,000 notes last year, there were fears that fake notes will also be in circulation.
In the wake of the current naira scarcity, many Nigerians, unknowingly, may have fallen victim of fake currency because of their inability to differentiate between real and fake redesigned naira notes.
Recently, the Enugu police command said its operatives arrested two suspects with fake redesigned notes in Ibagwa-Aka community of Igbo-Eze LGA of the state.
The suspects, were caught at a filling station with fake redesigned N1000 in 180 pieces “where they used the notes to purchase petrol”.
There are tight differences between a real naira note and its counterfeit. These differences are not hidden; they are there only if you look well enough, even for an untrained eye.
In some quarters, there have been misconceptions about the quality of the new naira notes, but the CBN said that the banknotes are protected by some security features to enable the easy recognition of genuine notes.
The apex bank also urged Nigerians to disregard the rumours that the new redesigned naira notes do bleach, and to also look out for portrait watermarks and windowed metallic security threads, among others.
1. Use of mercury bulbs
There are some texts that are not visible to the unclad eye; they are only visible through the rays from a mercury bulb.
If the money is in a stack or bundle and you want to test for counterfeits, arrange the monies properly and subject a side of it to rays from the mercury lamp. Mercury bulb is available at shops where electrical materials are sold, this method is preferable for business owners or people who handle bulk cash.
2. Paper and colour quality
While counterfeits are made of ordinary papers, real money is made of a special kind of paper. Feeling the paper-quality of counterfeits, you’ll find out that it’s just like that of paper found on the streets. The colours of counterfeits also betray it.
Some of the security features, according to CBN, which can help one to identify fake redesigned naira notes include:
1. Intaglio: This is when the image on the naira note is incised into a surface, and the incised line or sunken area holds the ink.
2. Portrait watermark: Watermarks are typically transparent, so those viewing the image can still admire it. The new naira notes’ watermark is in portrait form.
3. Optically Viable Ink (OVI): The light reflects off OVI security ink when viewed at an angle. The light makes the ink’s colour appear different compared to looking at it straight.
4. Kinegram: This provides quality identification and security features for the new naira notes. You’ll see an image of the Nigerian Coat of Arms in the original new N1000 note.
5. Iridescent band: [/b]A symbol at the top of the new N1000 note changes when seen from different angles.
[b]6. Engraved portrait: The picture of Nnamdi Azikiwe in the new N500 note is being carved into a surface. The portrait is painted or sketched on the right side to enable you to identify the original.
Meanwhile, Naira notes are also protected against photocopying. There are also features, which are visible under ultraviolet light; for example, the serial number on each banknote is black, but turns green under ultraviolet light.
The truth is, anybody can be a victim, but one must remain vigilant, watchful and smart.