Don't Get Scammed! Your Guide to Fake Listings

“Research suggests about three million consumers every year buy counterfeit goods carrying one of the top designer labels, such as Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry or Gucci. Nearly a third of the sales are over the internet.” (BBC)

This information from BBC is disturbing for a number of reasons. Many consumers have good intentions when purchasing a “designer” item or they may think they are purchasing an authentic item. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Although illegal to sell, the second-hand market is flooded with counterfeit Chanel, Gucci, Hermes, YSL, and more! These fake bags, shoes, and accessories are so made so well, it can fool even the most savvy shopper.

“It may seem like a victimless crime, but investigations have linked counterfeit goods to sweatshop working practices, child labor, organised crime and even the funding of terrorism.” (Examiner)

Here are MCR, we are well versed in vetting listings before purchasing. Many consumers want to save money and buy second hand, but it can be very risky, especially because designer items are not cheap! We have compiled a list of warning signs to look out for when shopping second-hand market listings on platforms such as eBay, Poshmark, Tradesy, Instagram, and more!

Designer Listing Red Flags:

Photos taken at an angle: We have no clue why this is a common theme for brand new counterfeit items (mostly from China), but the photo of the item is usually taken at a slight angle as shown here:

Different backgrounds on listing pictures:

Are some photos taken on a wood floor and others on a tile floor? Take note! This means the photos for the listing were likely stolen from another listing.

No serial number shown: 

Make sure you always see the serial number, hologram, date code, etc. before purchasing. If the seller refuses to provide this information, don’t purchase!

Bags wrapped in plastic: 

Most designer bags will never be wrapped in plastic or foam. You’ll notice in this picture that there is scrunched plastic on strap which signifies it’s brand new, but fake.

Low quality images or screenshots:

Most likely stolen photos from another listing. It’s most likely a scammer looking to get a sale from an item they don’t have.

No reviews or odd username: 

You should always check the seller’s profile before purchasing. Never purchase from a profile with no prior reviews or sales. It’s just not worth it. Many sellers create multiple accounts because they are shut down frequently after reported. Also, if the seller’s username is a weird string of random numbers or letters, this is an indicator that it was a random account created just to sell counterfeit items.

Items just listed that haven’t been taken down yet:

It’s more risky buying items that have just been listed. This means that the platform hasn’t had a chance to review or no one has had a chance to report the listing if it is indeed fake.

Sellers asking for you to text or email them:

Never go off the platform you’re planning on purchasing on unless it’s a reputable seller with a legitimate website (such as ReBag or My Closet Rocks). You lose all protection, money withholding, and middleman.

Seller asks to use Venmo, PayPal Friends and Family, a wire transfer, or Cash App: NEVER, EVER DO THIS. If you do go off an application, make sure you use PayPal Goods and Services. However, this is still VERY risky and can be a huge inconvenience if you do get a fake item. If this does happen, the seller will most likely fight you tooth and nail that their bag is authentic and the burden of proof is on you. This means that you will need to provide a certified document (that costs $50-$75) to prove it’s fake or you will need to pay return shipping if the return is approved. Either way, you lose money.


Sometimes the seller is trying to tell you that their item is counterfeit in code! They don’t want bots to catch their listing and take it down so they use words such as: High quality, a++, price reflects, what you see is what you get, or item was a “gift”. Watch out for these keywords!

Price is too good to be true: 

This is a given. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Sellers may be unaware:

Keep in mind the sellers may say the item is authentic and are completely unaware they have a fake item on their hands! This is why it’s so important to be wary when shopping and to ask all the right questions. If you ask if they purchased it from a store or second hand, it can help determine if they got duped into purchasing an unauthentic item.

Achieving the look and status you want with an authentic designer bag is easier, safer, and less expensive than you think! Shopping with gives you peace of mind that your item is 100% guaranteed authentic and is priced fairly!