We have been alerted to this image being shared on WhatsApp:
Along with the photo is the caption “Fake $50 notes ending with 5967 circulating around Hougang areas. Members please take note.”
It is not specified when the photo was taken, and who the ‘members’ mentioned in the caption are.
The warning is true, but…
When we did a reverse Google image search of the photo, we are led to a 2016 article on local website GoodyFeed.
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) said that it received a report on 26 May 2016 that counterfeit notes were used at a convenience store at Hougang Street 91. A 52-year-old man who was believed to be involved in the production of $50 counterfeit notes was arrested.
It was also reported that a photo of two fake $50 notes was also being circulated on WhatsApp:
The text in Chinese translates to “Beware of fake notes with the same serial number!”
As seen, the photo in the message that was being circulated in 2016 is the same one that we were alerted to.
Then, Chinese paper Lianhe Wanbao reported that hawkers in Hougang “were on the alert” for the counterfeit currency, and some even wrote down the serial number and were checking $50 bills that they received against it.
The police also revealed that the counterfeit notes in the reported cases bear four serial numbers – 5DC995967 (the one in the photo being circulated); 4KT595133; 4AX921719 and 4LB831932.
Therefore we rate the warning as true, but outdated.
Regardless, it is still important to note that while this particular warning isn’t relevant anymore and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) had stated that “the number of counterfeit notes in Singapore is very low and occurrences of counterfeit Singapore notes are isolated incidences”, it would still be good for the public to be vigilant in the event that they come across any.
More recently on 11 June 2019, the police issued an advisory to warn the public about receiving counterfeit $50 and $100 notes after they received multiple reports between March and May 2019 of fake notes being used at various retail businesses.
Similar to the incident in 2016, the counterfeit notes are believed to be photocopied reproductions, and lack the security features found on genuine polymer and/or paper notes.
Below are videos produced by the MAS about the security features on genuine notes that the public can look out for:
In the event that a member of the public doubts the genuineness of a Singapore note or coin, they should not hesitate to approach MAS to have it verified.
Those who have discovered or received a counterfeit note or coin should also report it immediately to the nearest police station or to the Commercial Affairs Department at 6325 0000.