Going on a shopping spree is often fun. Splurging on items that you’ve desired the most may give you a feeling of contentment, but what happens when you realize that you’ve been cheated? The brand-name item that you purchased turned out to be a fake. Here are a few pointers that will help you distinguish between the real thing and a fake.

Spotting a Fake Diamond

Fake diamonds are less expensive. Cheaper materials are used and their settings are sloppy. However, sometimes a shop owner may sell you a fake one at the price of a real diamond. There are several ways to know a real from a fake diamond.

1. If you are able to read small print, like a newspaper’s, through the diamond, the stone is a cubic zirconia or other fake. However, if you cannot read the type whatsoever, that means light is getting dispersed and that your stone is probably a real diamond.

2. Take the stone and examine it under a microscope. If there are scratches present, the stone is a cubic zirconia or other fake. Cubic zirconia is soft and is likely to have scratches on it. As a diamond is the hardest natural substance on earth, you will never find a scuff or a scratch on it, unless it is scratched by another diamond.

3. Take the stone and breathe on it to see if it becomes foggy. If the stone takes a few seconds to clear up, it is a fake. Real diamonds disperse heat immediately and do not fog up.

4. Take a real diamond and the stone in question and make a comparison. Put them close to each other. If the suspected fake has a grayish or greenish blue hue, it is a fake: likely moissanite. Real diamonds are nearly totally colorless.

Spotting Fake Fragrances

Follow the steps mentioned below to spot fake fragrances.

1. Take a photograph of the real fragrance from the manufacturer’s website. Now compare this to the bottle that you are thinking of purchasing. Fake fragrances are not very precise in their matching. If it is a fake, you will notice the difference in the shape of the bottle, the cap, the sprayer inner tube, or even the sprayer head.

2. Take a note of the liquid and its consistency. Fake fragrances have too much oil in them.

3. Notice any difference in coloring.

4. Sometimes shop-owners try to sell expired perfumes at a discounted rate. These fragrances are probably losing their essence. So, stay sharp and ask for fresh stock.

Spotting a Fake Memory Card

With the growing need to store data, memory cards are aplenty in the market. Here are a few tips to help you spot the fakes:

1. When purchasing a memory card from a store that sells cheaper cards, compare a card that was bought from a reputable store with the one you are about to purchase.

2. A counterfeit memory card either has a serial number missing or the number on the packaging is different from that on the memory card.

3. Unlike a genuine memory card that has notches, grooves and insets around its edges, a fake one does not have these.

4. There is an absence of holograms in the fake memory cards.

5. Counterfeit memory cards are not safely packaged.

6. To avoid lawsuits, the bogus memory cards misspell brand names, as well as other relevant information.

Spotting Fake Designer Clothing

People love to dress in brand-name clothing and accessories. They often get cheated as they are unable to distinguish between a genuine and a fake item. Here are a few tips to help:

1. Visit an authentic store to see the brand-name item. Notice the quality of the product, its patterns and information. Fake items are made with cheap and inferior materials, are not stitched well and lack the fine details of a genuine piece. Labels may also be missing.

2. All fakes are usually sold at a lower cost as compared to the genuine designer clothing.

3. Prior to your purchasing the item, browse around on websites to confirm the normal prices of designer wear.

4. When purchasing from a suspected fake-brand website, ensure to check the contact details and terms and conditions. It is mandatory for all websites to provide their contact information.

Spotting a Fake ID

Owing to the advances in technology, nowadays it is a difficult task to identify a genuine ID from a fake one. Here are a few ways to distinguish a fake ID:

1. Observe the body language of the person presenting the ID. If he or she shows signs of nervousness, is restless and fidgets, it is possible that he or she is giving you a fake ID. Be cautious of anyone who looks too young.

2. Compare the person to the photograph in the ID. Observe if there are changes in hairstyles and color. Notice the facial features. Take note of the height and weight information.

3. If there is an indication of tampering, be sure it is a fake. A red eye in the photograph, uneven surfaces, unclear letters and numbers are clues for a fake ID. Usually information on height, weight, birth date and photograph are tampered with. After the laminate has been put back in place, the state seal and numbers may not coincide. The edges around the picture may be rough.

4. Look for the expiration date. If the ID has expired, it may imply that the ID is borrowed. Similarly, if the ID is marked as a duplicate, it shows that the original ID holder may have requested for a duplicate to be made for someone else to use.

5. Ensure that you have an updated book that state that rules and regulations of an ID. Now compare the ID with these rules.

6. If you are wary about the ID presented to you, ask for a second or third form of ID.

7. To make sure that the person’s ID is genuine, ask questions that are not usually thought of when changes are made in the ID. For instance, ask a person’s high school graduation year, zodiac sign, or what the middle initial stands for. If you notice a hesitation or prolonged wait for a response, the ID is probably a fake.

Spotting a Fake Check

Making payments with checks is still very popular, despite the other ways of payment, like credit and debit cards, direct deposit or electronic checks. Scammers are always making counterfeit checks and stealing account numbers. Here are few ways to identify a fake check:

1. A genuine check must be immediately accepted by a bank.

2. Take note that the top left-hand side has the name and address of the person or company that has issued that check to you. Right across from this information is the check number.

3. The date should be under the check number, while the “Pay to the Order of” should be right across to the left.

4. Below the “Pay to the Order of” is the Legal Line. This is where the amount of the check is written in words. Straight across, the amount is filled in, in numbers. Both these numbers much match so that the check is accepted. The Legal Line must always be written. If it is not, it indicates that the check is a fake.

5. Information about the bank should be mentioned at the bottom of the check. It comprises the check number, routing number and account number.

6. Beside the bank information, the signature of the person who has issued the check to you must be present.

7. Some checks have a perforated or squiggly line that runs on the left-hand side of the check, while others have the word “original” mentioned on the check. When held up to the light, a watermark will be visible.

8. The check can be considered a fake if the information on the check looks fuzzy, or the check looks like it has been washed, or the ink seems to be running out.

9. If at any point you feel that the check is counterfeit, do not accept it.

10. Visit a local bank to confirm your instincts.

11. Usually fake checks have large amounts written on them and the account mentioned on them is at a distant location.

12. It is recommended that you know the person issuing you the check. If you are dealing with someone unknown, ensure that you have their contact information from a telephone directory, or a people-finder website.