Aside from the embarrassment & fashion shame of being fooled into purchasing a fraudulent dud “designer” handbag, there is also a sense of lost investment. And that can’t be a good feeling. So today I am giving you a few tips on how you can make sure you never knowingly buy a fake designer handbag. And I say knowingly, because some people really don’t have a problem with purchasing fakes. But if you do, then read on!

1. Buy from a reputable dealer. Starting at the source is absolutely the best way to ensure that a purse is the real thing. A retailer that has an established reputation for good products, authentic merchandise and knowledgeable staff wants to keep you coming back for more. The store will be happy to show you all of the true designer bags in stock, and would never risk carrying fakes. If you can buy direct from the designer’s outlet or website, that’s best.

2. Touch the bag and evaluate the fabric. Designer lines are often crafted from fine materials like supple leather and soft skins, while the lining is always made of quality fabric. The bag will feel expensive to the touch, and will have a resilient quality that will thrive for years. If your bag textile feels rough, thin, or flimsy to the touch, keep on going to the next store.

3. Look for branding and logos affiliated with the company. Forgers worry more about creating fakes than using spell-check, so misspellings and grammatical errors abound. “Preda” and “Guchi” mean fake. Check for these mistakes on the lining print, zipper pulls, logos, labels and or authenticity cards.

4. Step out of the pricing fantasy world and into reality. A real bag is going to cost you something substantial, even at a good consignment shop or thrift store. Back-alley hideaways with R1500 Balenciagas sell nothing but fake bags. If the seller is reputable and knows her stuff, there’s no way that a real bag will go for cheap.

5. Check out the little things like zippers, trim and closures. A real designer bag is often handcrafted or hand-finished, with sturdy trimmings. Often, smaller versions of the trademark or logo show up on these extras. Forgers don’t have the time or money to spend customizing these touches, so they skip them.

6. Check and read certification literature. High-end bags actually come with serial numbers and a registration card. Often, these cards have holograms as a forgery deterrent. The receipt will also have important information like the location, transaction amount and item information. To check if something is real, call or email the company to check the numbers, or read purse information databases for series numbers that correspond to your model.