Introduction: Detecting Counterfeit Polymer Vietnamese Money

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

Figure: The anti-counterfeit window on a piece of Vietnamese polymer money is at the center of the red circle.

When traveling to Vietnam you may have to use Vietnamese polymer money. Unfortunately for Vietnamese money users, the world great counterfeit makers have been releasing counterfeit money into Vietnam with impunity and the risk is not too small for travelers.

However, Note Printing Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia has provided Vietnamese money Printer with a hologram technology for anti-counterfeiting. The technology has been applied to the Vietnamese currency in 50000vnd, 100000vnd, 200000vnd and 500000vnd denominations. I think that this hologram method is currently the MOST EFFECTIVE first defense line against counterfeit notes.

It is regrettable that good instructions on detecting counterfeit money have not been found on the website of the "State Bank of Vietnam" (Reserve Bank of Vietnam) and this posting aims to supply such desired information to travelers who have to use Vietnamese polymer money.

The instructions here work with any piece of polymer currency employing a window having anti-counterfeit hologram.

Step 1: Seeing the Hologram in the Anti-counterfeit Window in Daytime.

Figure 1: Looking at a LED torch through the anti-counterfeit hologram window of a polymer note. Figures 2,3,4,5: The anti-counterfeit hologram patterns of Vietnamese polymer money for 500000vnd, 200000vnd, 100000vnd and 50000vnd denominations.

The following steps are to be carried out:

1/- Place a small LED torch more than 60cm from your eyes, make sure that it is not too bright to look at.

2/- Place the small anti-counterfeit window of the piece of money directly in front of and very close to one of your eyes.

3/- Look at the LED through that window with that eye.

4/- A genuine piece of money has a hologram to make the LED look like a flower as in the figures of this step. A counterfeit piece of money has no such hologram and cannot produce the required pattern.

5/- I always carry with me a genuine sample note of 200 000VND (it is nearly $10US) with a clear hologram picture and a LED torch. Whenever I receive any change I always check its hologram with my torch and if it has NO HOLOGRAM picture I will tell the other party straightaway the note is NOT ACCEPTABLE and I will request another note with a recognizable hologram picture similar that of my sample.

Step 2: Seeing the Hologram in the Anti-counterfeit Window in Night-time.

Figures 1-2: Composite photos of the blue security band on a $100US note and the magnified blue security band. The security band is an equivalent hologram feature on the $100US notes of much higher values. The checker pattern on the blue security band smoothly moves up and down when the viewing angle changes from left to right.

You can use the LED torch as in day-time but you can also look through the anti-counterfeit window at any bright, distant, point like street lamp. The flower pattern would show up clearly. Most of the time, there is no need to use your LED torch.

This feature compares well with the blue hologram security bands on the $100US notes of MUCH HIGHER VALUES but requires a torch while the US blue security bands don't.

Step 3: Other Anti-counterfeit Features 1-2.

Figure 1: Comparison of the recovery of Australian polymer note after only 10 minutes and a Vietnamese polymer note after 24 hours. The Vietnamese note has not recovered. Figure 2: An Australian polymer note being scrunched, note the serial number. Figure 3: The same note recovers its original condition after 5 minutes.

This hologram method currently appears to be the MOST EFFECTIVE first defense line against counterfeit notes and has been used in Canadian dollars. Even Australian notes have not employed that advanced technology. The Vietnamese polymer currency notes also employ other common anti-counterfeit features such as:

1/-Untearable polymer base for the currency, it springs back after scrunching. (Test by scrunching with your fingers. The note will spring back). ===>This test is only good for Australian $50 notes, it is NOT applicable on Vietnamese notes as the latter is not printed on Australian supplied polymer. Some genuine Vietnamese notes have been found to be unable to withstand the scrunching test (see the figures of this step and see also references [1], [2], [3]).

2/- Integral, transparent raised features on transparent window of the polymer currency notes. Polymer notes of other countries even have raised features with unscrapable colours on transparent window. (Test for peeling by scratching the edge of the clear windows with your fingernails, test for non-integral colours by scratching the colours on the clear windows with your fingernails.). ===> Counterfeiters are catching up even on $100 Canadian notes. (see [4].).





Step 4: Other Anti-counterfeit Features: 3

Figure 1: Integral clear plastic window with raised printing (bottom left) plus see through star for checking the perfect alignment of the double sided printing (top right) plus fine printing (top left) on a background of fine weaving pattern.

3/- Integral clear plastic window with raised printing is integral to the note (Clear window cannot be detached from the note).

The see through star on the top right is for checking the perfect alignment of double sided printing. (Alignment is checked by looking at images on both sides against strong background light.).

Fine printing of letters is on the top left corner. The lines of letters are used to create an impression of bright and dark lines making up the letters VN.

The whole surface of the note is printed with a fine pattern of weaving.This pattern is designed to be badly broken up if printed by any inkjet printer on a counterfeit.

===> These are effective features against counterfeits.

Step 5: Other Anti-counterfeit Features: 4

Figure 1: A Vietnamese note is placed flat on top of the left half of an US note, with its colour changing emblem near to the colour changing "bell in a bottle" of the $100US note. Both are shone by a strong light beam at normal angle (top picture) then at glancing angle (bottom picture). The change in colour (from bronze to green) on the $100US note is obvious while the change on Vietnamese note is barely noticeable. Figure 2: The gold coloured ink for the emblem of a coiled reptile (?) on a Vietnamese note is claimed to change to a grey metallic colour (left part of the composite photo) when viewed from a glancing angle under daylight. However, you have to shine a strong light beam at normal angle from a torch onto the feature then move the beam to a glancing angle to see a barely noticeable (?) change.

4/- Featured marks by iridescent ink which changes colour when view from different angles. The gold coloured ink for the emblem of a coiled reptile (?) on a Vietnamese note is claimed by Vietnamese State Bank to change to a grey metallic colour when viewed from a glancing angle under daylight. However you have to shine a strong light beam at normal angle from a torch onto the feature then move the beam to a glancing angle to see any noticeable (?) change. This anti-counterfeit feature does not seem to work well on Vietnamese note. ===> Counterfeiters are even catching up on the hologram technology on the $100 Canadian notes. (see [4].):

Step 6: Other Anti-counterfeit Features: 5

Figure 1: When view against a strong background light, a hidden image is shown, matching the printed portrait on the note.

5/- When view against a strong background light, a hidden image is shown, matching the printed portrait on the note. ===> This is a strong test against counterfeit notes but counterfeiters have already produced counterfeit polymer Vietnese notes with hidden figures.

Step 7: Other Anti-counterfeit Features: 6

6. Hidden security band in the thickness of the polymer.

This wavy band has a white colour with repeating letters NHNNVN. It is near the large clear window and shows when the note is backlit.

Step 8: Other Anti-counterfeit Features: 7

7. Raised printing with ink of feelable thickness is another anti-counterfeit feature. The name of the country is printed in black raised letters with raised ink.

Step 9: Other Anti-counterfeit Features: 8

Figure 1: A high power (×10) magnifying glass (disassembled in this picture) is required for inspecting fine details on currency notes. Figure 2: Fine printing on the wavy line under the number largest number 500.000 near the gold colour snail emblem.

8/- Clear and crisp printing is the feature of most currency notes in the world. You certainly need a good high power (x10) magnifying glass to check the printing.

There are fine detail watermarks on the base. The finest printing is on the area making the abbreviation VN near the alignment star, and on the wavy line under the number largest number 500.000 near the gold colour snail emblem ===> You need to be familiar with these printings to check their quality.

Step 10: Other Anti-counterfeit Features: 9

Figure 1: A genuine note under UV light from any inexpensive torch.

9/- Feature marks by UV (fluorescent) ink (Test by looking for fine featured fluorescent pictures under UV light.).===> Counterfeiters have caught up on this technology and a genuine sample is needed for comparison.

The genuine polymer note has a large band stating the value of the note printed in UV fluorescent ink. However there have been cases of counterfeits having UV fluorescent printing.

Evidently, counterfeiters have slowly caught up with these technologies and only the hologram method remains well ahead of them. I found that the hologram method is currently the MOST EFFECTIVE first defense line against counterfeit notes and Canadian polymer notes are also using this technology.

Step 11: ​Reducing Exposure to Counterfeit Currency.

When traveling and using unfamiliar currency you can reduce your risk to counterfeit currency by adopting these cautionary rules:

1. Carry a variety of high value notes so that you can combine them to pay each of the purchase charges without receiving any change in high values.

2. Only receive high value currency notes from registered banks (They are obliged to check currency notes when receiving and give you genuine usable notes).

3. Ask the banks to give you the combinations suitable for your trip until your next bank visit.

References.

[1]. Counterfeit Detection Guide, Reserve Bank of Australia, http://banknotes.rba.gov.au/counterfeit-detection/..., 2012-2016

[2]. Tiền polymer giòn... như bánh tráng, xaluan.com ,http://www.xaluan.com/modules.php?name=News&file=a..., posted on 06/10/2006

[3]. Nha Le, Post picture of Vietnamese money through out our history, Asia Finest Discussion Forum, http://www.asiafinest.com/forum/lofiversion/index...., Oct 10 2006, 10:59 PM.

[4]. Fake polymer $100s found in Regina, CBC/Radio-Canada,
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/fake-po..., 18 Sept 2015.

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