500 rupee note with star symbol in serial number isn’t fake, it's legal tender

By: Ishita Goel
July 28 2023

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500 rupee note with star symbol in serial number isn’t fake, it's legal tender


The Verdict False

500 rupee notes which have a star (*) symbol in the number panel are valid and are issued by the RBI to replace defectively printed notes.

Claim ID 57382ca1


Viral posts have surfaced on social media in recent days claiming that India’s 500 rupee notes with a star (*) symbol are fake. The post reads, "Since last 2-3 days these 500 notes with * symbol have started circulating in the market. Such a note was returned from IndusInd Bank yesterday. This is a fake note.” The post goes on to claim that “even today,” a friend received such notes from a customer but immediately returned them. The post warns people to be careful because of an increasing number of "hawkers carrying such fake notes."

The post has been circulating on all social media platforms, including Koo, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Users have shared it with an image of 500 rupee note and pointed out the star or the asterisk symbol printed in the serial numbers of the note with a red arrow. Archived version of the posts can be accessed here, here, and here

However, this claim is false, and the 500 rupee note with the asterisk/star symbol is legal tender. 

In Fact

On July 27, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) took note of discussions around the note and issued a clarification on the "Star Series Banknotes." The apex bank stated that these notes are identical to any other legal banknote, except that a star (*) symbol is added between the prefix and the serial number in the number panel. The star (*) symbol is an identifier that is a banknote used as a replacement for defectively printed banknotes, the bank added.

The RBI website explains that all the fresh notes issued in India till August 2006 bore a distinctive serial number along with a prefix consisting of numerals and letter/s in a pack of 100. The RBI said the star (*) symbol is inserted in the number panel of a banknote that replaces one that is defectively printed in such packs of 100.

Back in August 2006, RBI published a press release on the issuance of Star Series banknotes, a system that it first announced in April 2006. The bank stated back then that this would begin in ₹10, ₹20, and ₹50 denominations in the Mahatma Gandhi Series-2005. 

RBI had then said that defective notes are replaced at the printing presses with a good note bearing the same number as the one with the defect, only adding the star symbol in the number panel. “The Star series banknotes will be legal tender, and members of the public may freely accept and use these banknotes,” the bank added.

In December 2016, RBI issued another press release on the issue of ₹500 with the series.

This is not a new claim. Such narratives around the star series have surfaced in previous years as well and have been debunked by fact-checking organizations. 

The Verdict

The banknotes with a star symbol in the serial number panel are not fake and are legal tender issued by the RBI. The star symbol indicates that it is a reprinted note which has been used to replace a defective note. 

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before