Counterfeit Fake Ugandan Currency and Visitors to Uganda

Posted by on January 6, 2013

Fake Ugandan Money Passed on to Tourists in Uganda

Avoid being conned with Fake Ugandan Currency while visiting Uganda

50,000-Uganda-CurrencyCounterfeit money exists in most every country, in Uganda the circulation of counterfeit currency often is in the news as a counterfeiter is arrested by police or the report of fake currency being in circulation.  Most visitors will not have any problems with fake and counterfeit Uganda Bank Notes, especially if you are on a safari in Uganda with a Safari Tour Operator, but it can happen, some time back the “New Vision” Newspaper published “Know your Money, Guard against Counterfeit Currency.”  If Ugandans who use the Ugandan Shilling on a daily basis can be conned into taking counterfeit currency it becomes easier to con a visitor or tourist in Uganda.

There are some practical and relative easy ways of guarding against receiving fake currency Notes.  Even when it comes to the US Dollar most establishments, businesses, will not take US Dollar Bills older than 2003 and the main reasons are counterfeit issues.

The Bank of Uganda has done an excellent job in designing the Ugandan Currency in a way that is hard to fake but there are those that still try and at times get away with putting such currency into circulation.  Fake Ugandan currency is most often produced using color scanners and copiers, even gluing on a fake silver security strip.  Ugandan currency has watermarks, bright colors, security strips that are hard to copy ad yet it happens.  More and more stores have added machines that detect fake Ugandan Shillings, others use a marker that is supposed to change color when it is applied to fake Ugandan currency, it is however the small shops, restaurants, bars that will have a problem with fake currency which could result in you receiving worthless fake money as change to your 50,000 Ugandan Shilling Note. Below are some practical tips about how to avoid receiving fake money in Uganda.UGX money

  • Only use licensed FOREX Bureaus or Banks for exchanging Money:  If you want to exchange some US Dollars to Ugandan Shillings only use officially licensed FOREX Bureaus or Banks this is especially true at Border Crossings as from Kenya into Uganda where you have unlicensed money changers who may cheat you with a lesser exchange rate, not the amount of shillings for the dollar notes they told you by counting in a deceitful way and using fake bank notes.
  • Avoid Using larger Bills in Taxi-Vans, Bars, with Boda-Boda Motorcycle Taxis, or any dimply lit places at night:  Fake currency is often used when you cannot check it too well, especially at night when you are in dimly lit places such as some small shops, taxi Vans, small bars.  If you are buying something for 3,000 shillings do not use a 50,000 note in paying for it since that means you need change and at such times a fake 20,000 shilling note can easily be passed on, especially to the unsuspecting visitors, even Ugandans get conned and they are much more aware of the existence and use of fake Ugandan currency.
  • Use a Ugandan to Check the Money you are receiving:  If you are receiving change allow your Ugandan friend, driver-guide to look at the money.

Another con used is not only distributing fake money, but playing the scam of accusing someone that they paid the bill with fake money such as in a restaurant, usually the owners will not be involved but some wait-staff person seeing an opportunity.  If you ask for the bill which you used – you might even receive fake while they keep the good one.

All of the above rarely happens but it happens and it is best to be aware and mindful of them.  If you given a fake bill, it does not always mean that the person giving you the fake note was part of the scam, but they too may have been duped into taking the fake currency.

Uganda has introduced great looking Bank Notes – that come in different sizes according to denominations, the 50,000 shilling bank note being the largest in size and the one thousand shilling bank note the smallest.  Each denomination is distinct in color and easily recognizable even to the visitor to Uganda.  Older Bills of different colors are being phased out in 2013 by the Bank of Uganda, a process that should be completed by March 2013.

Fake US Dollars are3499005-money-close-up-100-american-dollar_thumb.jpg actually a bigger problem, but most visitors to Uganda will bring in good currency and not have any problems however the use of fake and counterfeited US Dollars often makes the use since US Dollars are often used in Uganda for purchases where rates are in US Dollars.

Enjoy Uganda, be a bit wise and cautious with the use of money and like most visitors and tourist you will have no problems, simply be aware that the problem exists…from the Pearl of Africa…Uganda…jon

“If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.” John Hemingway, African Journeys


Jon Blanc

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