Singaporean man claims he got scammed with counterfeit note at Ramadan bazaar in Johor Bahru

By May 15, 2019Current

TL;DR – He did not have the habit of checking his money and he did not expect himself to be a victim of the scam.

The next time you receive a bill when you’re overseas, you might want to scrutinize it closely because for all you know, it could be a counterfeit note.

On 12 May, a Singaporean man who goes by the name Armanizam Dolah took to his Facebook account and recounted how he fell victim to the use of counterfeit note in Johor Bahru.

A summary of what happened

  1. Armanizam went to the Angsana Ramadan Bazaar at Johor Bahru with his friends.
  2. After breaking fast, he went to one of the drink stalls and got himself a cup of Assam Boi that cost RM2.
  3. He paid the stall owner a RM50 note (he didn’t have any smaller note with him), and the stall owner gave him his change of RM48 in the denomination of RM20 (1), RM10 (2), RM5 and RM1 (3).
  4. He left the drinks stall.
  5. Half an hour later, he and his friends left the bazaar for Pasar Pandan where they decided to head for a haircut.
  6. Haircut cost RM25. Armanizam paid for his haircut using the notes he received earlier from the drinks stall at Angsana Bazaar.
  7. He waited outside the barbershop for his friends, but was called back into the shop later by the barber.
  8. The barber told him that the RM20 note paid to him was a counterfeit note. Another RM20 note was also present for comparison.
  9. It was only at that point when Armanizam realized that the texture and print of the RM20 note he had was slightly different.
  10. The counterfeit note was thicker than the authentic note, and the three stripes on the note were actually plain foil stickers that could be peeled off easily.
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Three possibilities: the Assam Boi stall owner, another customer or the Barber

In his updated Facebook post, Armanizam later acknowledged there could be a few possibilities to how he might have ended up with the counterfeit note.

One, the counterfeit RM20 was handed to him at the Assam Boi drinks stall by the stall owner.

Two, the note could have been paid to the stall owner by another customer without the stall owner’s knowledge, and handed to him as change.

Three, the barber could have exchanged the RM20 note with a fake note while he was outside the barbershop.

A good for him and an important lesson for all

Armanizam concluded that this experience was a “good lesson” for him.

He hopes to raise awareness through his post and urges all Singaporeans to be careful when handling the currency, and to always check the authenticity of all bills received.

Here’s his Facebook post:

In case you are unable to see his post, here’s the full text in the post:

“Dear all,

Yesterday (12/5/2019), I experienced something rather unexpected which caused me to feel paranoid ever since. Here’s what happened.

My good friends and I went to the Angsana Ramadan Bazaar at Johor Bahru to do some shopping, eat good food and just soak in the great atmosphere with the Muslim community in JB that are celebrating the blessed month of Ramadan.

After the breaking of fast, I went to one of the drink stalls and got myself a cup of Assam Boi which I paid RM2 for. Since I did not have any small change with me, I told the seller that I only had RM50 and passed him the note. He then returned me RM48 and I kept the money in my wallet then left the stall.

Here is the breakdown of notes that I received from him: RM20, RM10x2, RM5 and RM1x3.

About half an hour later, my friends and I left Angsana for Pasar Pandan. After some shopping, we decided to go for a haircut and that was where I discovered I was scammed.. Lol.

The haircut at Pasar Pandan cost RM25. After getting my haircut, I paid the barber RM20+RM5 using the very notes I received earlier from the drinks stall at Angsana Bazaar. I then waited for my friends outside the barber shop and all of a sudden, the barber called me back into the shop and told me that the RM20 that I had given to him earlier was FAKE. He and his other colleagues then showed me a comparison of the RM20 note that I had given with another RM20 note. And to my surprise, it was only then that I realised that the texture and the print of the note is actually slightly different. The FAKE note was definitely thicker than the authentic note and the iridescent stripe (3 shiny stripes on the note) were actually plain foil stickers that I could easily peel off. It would have been undetectable until you take a closer look. Lol. How did I not realise that? Because I did not expect to be a victim of this fake money scam and did not find the need to check on the change that I received. From that moment on, my friends and I started checking on all the notes that we received that night, just to ensure they were all genuine. This incident has left me (and my friends) paranoid for sure.

To all my fellow friends, family and everyone who are planning to drive across the border in this festive season, please be very careful, vigilant and just spend a quick minute to check on the RM change that you receive wherever you go. Especially in a very busy and crowded bazaar, we will all be moving from stall to stall and have no time to check or expect to be receiving a FAKE RM note. It could be a RM20 note, RM50 or even RM100 – it still is money – and it could happen to anyone of us.

Here is the proof of the FAKE RM20 note.

Please do spread this message around and let’s keep a lookout for one another.

Many have speculated that the barber could be the scammer in this incident and yes, that is a possibility.

The scammer could either be the Assam Boi drink seller, a customer of the Assam Boi drink seller or the barber, but at this point, who’s to know and who are we to judge? Wallahu a’lam.

My post is meant to raise awareness for everyone to exercise caution and always remember to check your RM notes received moving forward. This could already be an ongoing syndicate in Malaysia and I believe there are many out there who have had similar experience. A good lesson learnt for me which I find really important to share to all. 😊 Thanks everyone.”


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Joey Wee

Author Joey Wee

I am nice, most of the time!

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