Knockoffs are everywhere. Counterfeit products are explicitly made to trick consumers. They often look exactly like the legitimate product, and it can be challenging to find out what to look for and save yourself from spending thousands on something that is hardly worth $100. The salespeople will often insist that the products are real. In this list, you’ll read ten important tips that will help you spot what’s fake whether it’s on eBay, Amazon, or in your local thrift store.
Pay Attention to the Texture
Real leather is one of the most often faked items, and it is much more expensive when it is genuine, so it is imperative that you know how to tell the difference. The texture is the best indicator. Faux leather will have a more uniform appearance; every pore will be very evenly spaced; real leather will not be uniform. It will have imperfections and inconsistencies throughout. The texture of the edges will be a little rough if the leather is genuine, faux leather will look too perfect and almost foamy.
Examine the Hardware
Zippers, handles, and clasps are going to be held to the same standard as the rest of the materials. In real designer products, the metal is going to be of very high quality. The metal will be heavy, and it will have a ‘mattifying’ coating on it in most cases. If the item is fake, the hardware will be extremely shiny, and will not have as much weight to it. You should also check for scratches and dings, and walk away if there is another color revealed underneath.
Scrutinize the Stitching
Every millimeter of a designer product is diligently designed and scrutinized over beyond belief. The manufacturers do everything they possibly can to make this product worth the money. The stitching should be strong and perfectly aligned all over the item, all uniform in color and the distance between stitches. If there are places where the stitching is crooked, the spacing is off, or the thread is a different color, you can be sure it’s fake.
Read and Test the Labels
In most places, misspellings on labels are a long time joke, but the reality is that it can happen. It does happen! Make sure you read the labels and make sure the even the washing instructions are correctly spelled. Additionally, check behind the labels! Some companies will stitch more expensive labels over cheaper ones in hopes that you’ll just pay for the name without double checking. Don’t rip tags off, but try to look behind them and flip them over to make sure it is the original label.
Check the Stamps
Designer products like bags, shoes, and jackets that are made of leather will usually have a stamp on them. These can be a great indicator of authenticity. You should make sure that everything is spelled correctly, and the depth is even all over the stamp. It shouldn’t have shallower grooves on one side. It should also be perfectly aligned with the bag, and each one should be uniform if you have access to multiple of the same item to look at. You should also make sure that all the wording is evenly spaced.
Read the Buttons
Many companies will have the names imprinted on the buttons, and as with everything else, you should check for spelling and spacing. In addition to that, you should also check the quality of the buttons and make sure that they are all stitched on properly. Many buttons also have special etchings on them and a particular color to make sure that they’re harder to fake. In the moment, you should do a quick search on your phone and compare buttons if possible. If not, just make sure they are sturdy, the stitching is done correctly, and all the buttons are stamped the same way.
If It’s Too Good to Be True
This is the number one caveat when it comes to making sure that you are getting real products. When thrifting, you may come across an absolute steal, and this is not to say abandon it just in case it is fake. However, if you’re shopping online and find a Chanel Classic ($5,300) for just $500, that is when you should be wary of purchasing the item. If you find yourself thinking that something is too good to be true, trust your gut because it almost always is correct in that regard.
Look for Clues on Packaging
Packaging is also important to pay attention to, because a lot of the time with cosmetics and fragrances, it will tell the truth in the fine print. Watch out for words like ‘inspired by,’ which means it isn’t the real product. Also, if the packaging is stamped, make sure it is stamped straight and evenly. Barcodes are another thing to double check, pay attention to the numbers and the positioning. In the photo above, the genuine product is on the right. Make sure everything appears straight and is appropriately sealed. Real products are held to a very high standard, and you will easily be able to tell the difference in packaging.
The Devil is in the (Finest) Details
It may be difficult to tell, but the iPhone on the left is the real one. You can tell because the font is bolder, and iPhones do not display the time in the top bar when they are locked. Also, the screen indicator on the bottom is white, but on the fake iPhone (right) it is dark. You will see that the buttons also stick out farther on the counterfeit one. While it may be hard to focus on these things in the moment, it is important to pay close attention to every little thing when the time comes. Some fakes are done well enough that they have fooled salespeople, they have deceived teams dedicated to determining if products have been faked.
Only Buy From Trusted Sellers
In the photo above, you can see where the seller has been highlighted in purple. Only buy from trusted sellers, and if you aren’t familiar with a seller, there are a few things that you can do. Check reviews, if they’re repetitive or have broken English, they may not be legitimate reviews. Try to go to the seller’s website, and make sure that it seems like a real website. Search the shop name on Google, and if anyone has had any problems in the past, you’re bound to find them.