The War Against Counterfeits, in HD
The war against counterfeit perfumes and colognes is getting easier for us common folk, thanks to high-definition unboxings of the real thing, in real time. And anyone to make one..
While verifying a recent eBay purchase of Sauvage eau de parfum, I discovered YouTube user fake cip’s impressive 29-minute HD video of his methodical, side-by-side comparison of a real and a fake Savage. Close up shots helped me spot 25 signs mine was fake.
Many YouTubers use the same method to help spot phonies; fake cip is particularly good, and blank and blank are also worth watching.
I want to record all my cologne unboxings to help with this effort. Videos of unverified purchases can be made available for others to authenticate or debunk. The real unboxings will then become authentication videos. The verified fakes could be tagged to identify the businesses, and the addresses they use to ship and to accept returns.
Return addresses are particularly helpful, because both victims and fraudsters have incentives to make sure returns get back in sellable condition, and they are useful to law enforcement.
A scale is needed. Latex gloves are recommended in case you must return a product or give it as a gift.
FAKE CIPS STEPS
Record each step with the real and fake , one after the other the whole way through. Compare:
1. Outside: First, capture all sides of both unopened products together, side by side: the front of the boxes together, then the tops, bottoms, and both sides. Go slowly, use the best light, the highest definition, and give the camera enough time to capture the clearest, most focused shots possible., stopping the movement each step.
2. Weight: Second, before products are opened or unsealed, weigh them in package, both the original and fake in turn (all sides), as sold; then open them and weigh the bottles only; then the caps only. (I would start with the product in the shipping container, then in the cellophane. Shots of address labels should be edited out. I would do this in sequence in one long take in case a seller disputers that the packing did not come from them. Include all paperwork inside, get every detail.)
On the front and bottom of bottle especially, comparison of the fonts, logos and graphic images will reveal many differences, some very subtle. Take your time to get steady shots, and don’t expect to find every problem while shooting.
Top, all components, with the cap on and off; and with the squeeze bulb on and off the nozzle. Capture the inside of the squeeze bulb and the cap. You will find a large portion of your differences in these parts and mechanism. Capture the height of everything during this sequence, to show the differences in everything from length of nozzle, height and width of everything.
Atomizer: Get a side shot of the spray shooting across the frame of the video. You will get that one chance to see how both spray before the tube has been filled with liquid, so get enough shots of both.
Inside of bottle through light
The tube is an important item
Be careful to not jump to conclusions too quickly (though often it will be clear), and if you can’t see a batch code, keep looking and looking and use the best magnification you can. I have missed them after repeated searches; you will find a variety of ways Don't expect every brand to place codes and clues in the same places and the same manner. Batch codes can be etched very faintly, and writing can be hidden around the bottom rim of a bottle.
Sometimes, you may have to carefully rub or scratch text on bottle to see if it comes off easily.
Make a video and post it even if you do not have a verified original to compare it to. Having a record of weights, heights, etc. will be helpful later. A ruler with clear, fine marks that resd well on video will be useful. Buy a scale now; I found one that measues in grams to two decimal places. You will appreciate this when items appear similar.
The bottom line is to get everything, and when you spot differences, highlight them in detail. Only an authentic can verify another authentic, and remember that fakes are getting better and better and counterfeiters may also be watching your videos. No need to let all your clues be known; leave the frauds to wonder what we have figured out. They use the same methods in reverse.
Approach sellers carefully about frauds, and learn how to navigate their rules for returns. Word your message tactfully; state it to give them the benefit of the doubt even if there is now; ask, don't demand. Watch for their reactions in their tone and their repetitive claims about 100% authenticity; most don't know the first thing about the products and take zero interest in knowing how to spot a counterfeit. Know how to contact eBay Fraud independently of the app, and save all messages.