One of the biggest giveaways that you’re dealing with a fake Rolex is that “Rolex” is spelled incorrectly on the watch. If the timepiece has “Folex,” “Nolex,” or “Rolexish” emblazoned on it, then it is likely a counterfeit item. The same goes for those that say “Rolex,” but written “5073x,” using the watch’s calculator function. Also—and this is a telltale sign for all types of fake jewelry—do not even think about purchasing a piece if it tastes delicious after you boil it and cover it in cheese. If this is the case, there is a pretty good chance your “diamond necklace” is actually made of macaroni. It is one of the oldest tricks in the book and has made many a shady preschooler unimaginably rich.
As with watches, you can tell a handbag is inauthentic if the designer’s name or logo looks off. Another, perhaps even easier way to tell is if the shop where you are buying an expensive purse also sells those New Year’s Eve glasses. You know, the ones that stopped really working in 2011 but found a way to stay a staple of the holiday until 2020, when they became relevant once again, if only for a year? Anyway, those are legit.
While art forgery is among the higher-profile, more lucrative scams, it is still quite common for regular people to fall victim to a faux van Gogh, phony Monet, or dummy Duchamp. Luckily, it is fairly simple to see when someone is de copying de Kooning. Unfortunately, it involves destroying the work to check whether the person who sold it to you gets mad or reacts in any other way that might suggest that one of the world’s greatest cultural treasures has been used to sop up the grease from a dollar slice of pizza.
It can be tricky to tell if autographs are signed by actual celebrities, but there are certain signs that can alert you to a fraudulent piece of memorabilia—the most obvious being an incongruity between the John Hancock and the item it is Sharpied onto. Sure, you may see a glamorous movie star’s signature turn up on a paper napkin, but if you spot Babe Ruth’s signature on a Peloton stationary bicycle, it probably was not the one he rode every day as a boy, in a Baltimore orphanage at the turn of the century. For the most part, avoiding fake memorabilia simply requires common sense. If a dealer purports to be selling the real Baby Yoda puppet for twenty dollars but it looks like a Furby someone spray-painted green, that is more than likely what it is. That said, still not a bad deal.
As proved by pirates in hundreds of movies, biting into a coin is one of the best ways to make sure it is not made out of chocolate. Fugazi paper currency, however, is much harder to identify orally. To spot a bogus batch, you will need to rely on the feel and weight of the note. You should also look closely at how it is printed. Very few, if any, crayon-drawn million-dollar bills have been authenticated. Most crayon fakes possess inconsistencies such as squiggly lines and a smiley face in their center instead of a President or other national icon. They may also, if you check the lower right-hand quadrant, be issued by the Bank of Tommy or some other childish name.
Counterfeit wine is, without a doubt, the easiest phony luxury item to suss out. If it tastes good, it is not a bottle of old-ass wine. If it does not make you find the phrase “wine o’clock” funny, it may not have any alcohol in it at all. Sadly, by the time you realize this, you cannot return it for a refund, as the seller has probably found a wine cave to hide out in until the heat dies down. If you look on the bright side, though, the sweetness of the grape juice pairs well with the acidity of tomato sauce, and even someone who is financially ruined can drum up enough for a dollar slice.
Pained looks can be misleading, since people are often going through tough times that have nothing to do with you, but the fact that you have put your earbuds back in is making me think that I should shut up and just stare at the flight map for the remainder of this flight from Newark to Singapore. Yeah, I know there are a ton of movies and shows available to watch, but the actors are all faking it. I can always tell.
This article first appeared in www.newyorker.com
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