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If you travel through Asia or to big international cities like New York or Los Angeles, you’ll probably run into someone trying to sell you fake designer merchandise like handbags, watches, clothes, sunglasses, shoes… you name it. Some of the knock-offs out there are well-made, and some are even made of the same materials as the originals.  Spotting one can be as easy as a purse that says “Goach” instead of “Coach,” or as difficult as taking a magnifying glass to the inside seams. Here are a few ways to spot fake designer merchandise: HANDBAGS: ** Price:  Genuine Gucci bags don’t sell for $100.  In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find one under $1,000.  So even if $100 seems pricey for a handbag, check the real price range of the product in question before dishing out for a fake. ** Stitching and Construction:  Though some knock off handbags look genuine from the outside, many have obviously sloppy stitching on the bottom or the inside.  Check to see if the original is lined or not… what colors are really being sold… if the zipper works well… and that all seams are tight and straight, if not almost invisible. ** Materials:  Fake designer handbags can be made from genuine calfskin or genuine vinyl.  Most times, you’ll be able to see inconsistencies in the texture, or the bag will feel stiff if it’s a fake. ** Labels:  Designer handbags often have large, wordy labels proclaiming all of the virtues of the brand.  Lazy fakers will misspell words in the label, or change them.  Check to see if they’re sewn on straight, or if the words look half-way stamped on. ** Packaging (or lack thereof):  Another area of much ado in designer products is the packaging.  It’s all about presentation.  If there’s no packaging present, or what’s there is thin or cheap-looking, be wary of the origin of the product. ROLEX WATCHES: It’s likely that if you travel through the touristy areas of SE Asia, Los Angeles, or New York, you’ll be approached by someone who wants to sell you a fake Rolex watch.  Here’s what to look for: ** Date magnification bubble:  On real Rolexes, this is made of crystal.  Fakes are generally glass, and can be crooked. ** A standard feature on genuine Rolex watches from 2002 on is a tiny coronet symbol etched into the crystal face under the six.  This is one of the harder things to replicate.  Many fakers don’t even try.  If you do see it, check to make sure it’s straight, and in the right place. ** Real Rolexes have a hologram sticker on the back.  Knock off watches sometimes have a colored sticker that catches the light… but isn’t a hologram. ** The second hand on a Rolex moves in one smooth, sweeping motion.  Fakes generally jerk from second to second. SUNGLASSES: ** Logos: Check the logos on those iffy sunglasses to see what material they’re made of, whether they’re straight or crooked, or even misspelled. ** Packaging:  As with handbags, fake sunglasses don’t usually come with any packaging, though sometimes they’ll be in a clear plastic bag. ** Hinges:  Check the hinges for bounce, look to see if they’ve been painted over, or the ear pieces are mounted straight. While you may be after the real deal for your own adornment, fake designer merchandise can serve its purpose… For instance, pet photographer Ren Netherland uses jewelry, crowns, boas, and other accessories to stage pet portraits that keep him in business making six figures — and only working nine months a year. All you need to start your own pet photography business is a camera, some simple props, and some a few techniques.  You don’t need any prior photography experience or expensive equipment. [Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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