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Is Beijing Awash in Fake RMB Notes?

A few weeks ago, we told you how to [identify fake Chinese notes](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/articles/blogs-beijing/expat-life/mao-money-mao-problems-how-to-tell-if-your-money-is-real-or-fake/). Now we've dug up more information on what you should do if you receive a fake bill directly from the bank.

Fake money in China is nothing new, but recently ATMs have been spitting out a seemingly [large number of fake Maos](http://beijing.globaltimes.cn/society/2011-05/657243.html). Stephanie Rocard, co-owner of [Mao Mao Chong](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/listings/nightlife/bars/has/mao-mao-chong-bar-shop/), says that recently a number of customers have tried to pay with fake notes. Most say they’ve gotten the money directly from the bank or an ATM. “No matter how good fakes are, they can’t fake the glowing logo you can see only under a purple UV light,” she says, noting that she bought a bill scanner for ¥200 from Sanlitun’s Shundian because of the scale of the problem. Banks, of course, are denying the problem. When City Weekend contacted the Bank of China, a customer service representative said it is impossible that customers would receive fake notes, as the ATMs check every bill. Therefore, she reasoned, there are no forged notes in the ATMs. A call to China CITIC Bank had similar results. So what to do if you suspect the fresh new bills from the ATM are fake? One solution is to show the serial number to the CCTV camera. The Global Times reported in 2009 that customers [were withdrawing fake bills from ATMs](http://www.globaltimes.cn/china/top-photo/2009-07/443801.html) and receiving forged notes directly from bank tellers. At that time, a spokesman for the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau said a customer that suspects fake bills have been withdrawn should “contact the issuing bank immediately and present their receipt.” He added that neither banks nor police can do anything about alleged fake bills unless the customer can prove they showed the serial numbers on the notes to a surveillance camera at the ATM at the time of withdrawal, basically leaving it up to the customer to determine the legitimacy of notes at the time of withdrawal. Sometimes a fake slips past the staff of Mao Mao Chong, and they find out when the ATM won’t accept the bill. When this happens, Rocard rips up the bills and accepts the loss. “It’s not fair to try to spend it somewhere else,” she says.


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siennapc's picture


I've had taxis try (successfully once) to give me fake money a few times, but recently I got fake money out of an ATM for the first time. RMB200 from the HSBC ATM in the Lido Hotel complex, next to Starbucks. It really, really sucks to lose this much money -- I can't spend it anywhere! I wish the banks would do a better job cracking down on this rather than denying the problem!
fs's picture


6 years now in Beijing.. I finally got duped by an illegal taxi who kept insisting that all my money (10s, 20s) is fake. He was a quite a big guy and started to raise his voice. I was alone in the taxi when he stopped at a dark quiet road. Finally when I handed out a RMB100 note, and he said it was fake too that I realized what mess I'm in. I watched his hands but as they say these crooks have perfected the switch. I'm still lucky in a way that he only got away by switching only one RMB100 note... That fake note is in my wallet so that any other crooked taxi will get that note back!
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