Let’s say you were too excited to buy a once used — yet brand new — Louis Vuitton handbag. A colleague offered it to you for a great deal – almost half the market price. So, of course, since you’re a fan of designer bags, you went ahead and exchanged a week’s worth of salary for it.

After seeing your newly-purchased handbag, your brother laughs at you. He tells you it’s fake and you were tricked into giving more than its actual worth.

By the looks of it, your brother is right; the Louis Vuitton handbag is not a genuine item. Your hard-earned money seems to have gone down the drain.

Need help on how to tell if something is fake?

#1: Be Logical with Regard to Pricing

If a colleague re-sells an item to you for a discounted price, determine his reason for re-selling that item.

Is he getting a newer version of it? Will he not be using it anymore? Does he need money?

If he can disclose a practical reason, you may consider the deal he’s offering. Spotting a win-win situation is a go-signal.

Otherwise, be skeptical. He can be making money from you – and worse, he is purposely deceiving you. If a deal seems too good to be true, chances are, it is.

#2: Learn about the Seller’s Reputation

Only buy an item from a trustworthy seller. Especially if you plan to buy an expensive item, it’s a smart move to assess and reassess his previous transactions.

It’s a red flag if he had a history of fraudulent transactions involving counterfeit items. Find out if he has pulled a similar stunt before – or something problematic such as delays in the payment. Even if he’s a colleague that you may have known for years, he is capable of scamming you if you’re not careful.

#3: Compare the Quality to the Quality of a Similar Item

If the above-mentioned ways are off the list, your last resort is to compare. Focus on the quality of the item you plan on buying to the quality of a similar item. Inspect the materials and the manufacturer.

You can even ask the seller to do this for you. If he doesn’t mind, he might want to provide documentation, too.

If both items are made of quality, you can go ahead and make the purchase.

Conclusion

It can be challenging to identify a fake item if you are too trusting. Unfortunately, some people can — and will — take advantage of you. If you seem gullible, you’ll be a target. While you can’t change how they are, you have all the control on how you proceed with matters from then on.