It’s like a dream come true, that Coach bag or Rolex watch being offered at an affordable price. Keep dreaming; walk away.
Last year the number of counterfeit seizures by U.S. Customs and Border Protection totaled 31,560 — up 9 percent from 28,865 in 2015, according to an article in Kiplinger last month.
Hot items included clothes, accessories, electronics, footwear, watches, jewelry and handbags. The total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price for those items (if they were authentic) was $1.4 billion, according to the CBP.
Admittedly, some of that stuff looks good. Are you passing up a good deal?
Kevin Godfrey, owner of Henry Laurent Estate Sales in Great Neck, deals with fakes constantly. He offers a few pointers.
- Is the price too nice? The No. 1 factor in determining whether something is authentic or not is price. “If the cost is multiple points below what you would expect to pay, it’s stolen or fake. Run,” says Godfrey.
- Crafty art: Art is one of the most difficult things to appraise and authenticate due to the large number of forgeries and fakes. If a high-end piece doesn’t have an exhibition or gallery stamp, an original sales receipt or a comparative explanation of other works and styles of the artist but is still commanding a premium price, question it.
- Know what you need to know: Fancy watches have a certain weight. Says Godfrey, “Most fakes use substandard components causing a drop in weight. If a watch is surprisingly light, that’s not a feature, it’s a fake.” Likewise, luxury purses have specific zippers. Counterfeiters don’t source the right ones. Use Google to find out if you have a Louis or a Flouis.