This is a first hand experience note from my wife and here is her guest post.
Last Saturday, I had gone to the bank where I hold a Savings account for the past 10 years, and where one of my term deposits had matured recently. This is one of the well known nationalized banks in our country. I went in at about 10.30, closed the term deposit and asked the bank to credit the amount to my savings account, filled in a withdrawal form and requested for Rs. 50,000/- which I wanted to deposit into another MNC bank, into my friend’s account, to repay a debt. The teller gave me a bundle containing Rs. 50,000- all in Rs. 500 notes. I counted the bundle, made sure there were 100 notes of Rs. 500 each and came out and boarded the auto and directed the driver to the MNC bank.
At the MNC bank, I picked up a Quick cash deposit envelope (which is a norm in this bank – you can not directly deposit at the counter), filled out all the details, put the bundle of 50,000 into it, sealed it and handed it over to the officer there. This lady informed me that in order to deposit Rs. 50,000, I should furnish the PAN No. of my friend, who is the receiver. Since I did not have this detail, the same lady told me I could deposit up to Rs. 49,900 without having to furnish the PAN number.
So I took the cover back, opened it, and took out the bundle, broke the seal and took out one Rs. 500 note and carefully put it away into my purse. So now I had Rs. 49500 in my hand. I drew out four notes of Rs. 100 denomination, filled out a fresh envelope, put all the currency into it, sealed it, handed it over to the same lady and got her acknowledgement for the amount of Rs. 49900.
In less than 30 minutes of my leaving the precincts of the MNC bank, I got a call from them stating that they had found a fake currency of Rs. 500 denomination in my envelope. I was quite aghast! I had just taken money from a reputed nationalized bank and had deposited the same in the MNC bank. How could a fake note creep into the bundle drawn from a good bank? With full trust in my bank of 10 years account, I called up the nationalized bank, and explained the problem to them. All I was told was that this particular MNC bank was frequently cribbing about fake money and that I should just go and meet them to clear it up. How supportive is that!!
I immediately went back to the accusing bank and contacted the bank manager. Apparently they open these quick cash deposit envelopes under the eye of a surveillance camera. I immediately requested for a footage of the teller opening my packet, along with proof that the currency note shown to me which was claimed to be a fake one, had the same serial number as the currency note caught on the camera.
Flaw No. 1- the surveillance system is not a high resolution one, and can at the maximum reproduce facial features, and nothing beyond that. Even the bank manager could not decipher the serial number on the currency note on the camera image, leave alone match it with the purported fake note that one of his officers held in his hand. I was disgusted..
I then asked them for proof that it was indeed a fake note. The officer in charge put the currency on a UV system which illuminates the note so brightly that one can see the patterns on the bottom side of the note as brightly as those on the top.
This particular note is relatively older, and has a flower like motif on the left side on the top. Exactly on the underside of this flower is a similar flower- only it is a filled one- In a good note both these flowers superimpose perfectly. In this particular note, the flowers were offset by a few mm. So it was definitely a fake note.
The only solution these people offered was that I replace the note with a good one, in order to complete the transaction. I must thank the gods that they did not question my integrity, in the event of which I would have broken down completely.
The banker refused to hand me the currency note in full and agreed instead to tear the note and hand one part to me.
On further thought, I requested the bankers to hold the note without destroying it. I told them that I would lodge a complaint with my dear national bank that vended the cash and that I would keep them in the loop. MNC bank refused. Instead they offered to write "Fake note" across the currency and hand it over to me as a "special case" for God knows what reason.
I replaced the amount with the other 500 which I had carefully put into my purse and off I went to demand justice from the bank I took the money from.
Imagine my shock, when the bank manager refused to entertain my plea, saying that there was no proof that it was a note out of the bundle I took from them. I asked them to verify the Serial number against their log. I was again shocked to know that no bank keeps a record of the serial numbers of the currency notes that pass through them. In fact, when I handed the fake note to these people, it took them quite some time to confirm that it was indeed a fake note- they did not have the sophistication of the UV system to detect whether the note is fake or genuine.
Finally I left for home, poorer by Rs. 500 and wiser about the cunning ways of men…
Alright, I drew 50000 and found just one fake note. Imagine a relatively poor person drawing 2000 out of his meager savings- bank teller hands 4 notes of 500 denominations and one of them turns out to be a fake! His loss is truly greater in terms of the proportion!!
Now think of this- when one draws money from an ATM, the machine vends a good part of the amount requested for, only in 500 denominations. How do I know if all the notes are fake? If a nationalized bank can end up having a fake note in their bundle, what of these ATMs? There is no option where I can specify the denomination in which I want the amount to be vended!
Agreed, I could have taken a DD or could have deposited a cheque in my friend’s account. But since I wanted the transfer to be effected on that very day, I merely availed of the Quick cash deposit option offered by the MNC bank.
My dear innocent layman friends reading this true tirade-
- Ensure that whenever you draw cash from your banks- INSIST that they give you in denominations of Rs. 50 only- at least your loss will be minimized.
- Wherever possible, deal only in cashless transactions
To the authorities-
- How are you going to save us from becoming innocent victims in this fake currency racket?
- Can you make ATMs vend cash in whatever denominations we demand?
- Can you have a device that generates and tags each denomination that comes into the bank, so that when the currency goes out, you can very well establish that it was from the bank?
But all said and DONE, dear, innocent, middle class, hard working layman!!!! There is NOBODY for fend for you or to defend you when you are into this kind of trouble- definitely not the bankers in whom you repose your trust and all you hard earned money .. so your only weapon is BEWARE!!!!!!!!!
Note from Shiva:
Please forward this article to as many people as you can so that someone else is not victimized as my wife.