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How Secondhand Designer Bag Lovers Almost Lost $1,000,000 to Counterfeiters

How Secondhand Designer Bag Lovers Almost Lost $1,000,000 to Counterfeiters

Buying a designer item safely is no small feat. By buying premium designer brands secondhand, shoppers can save up to 80% of the original price. Looking for the best price, plenty of secondhand buyers research purchasing from private sellers.

That's when they might lose their hard-earned money. 

We at Bagaholic hear these heart-breaking stories from our customers almost on a daily basis. That’s why we decided to launch this designer bag scams awareness campaign. The more people are aware, the fewer people will lose their hard-earned savings.

Top 3 Reasons You Might Lose Money When Purchasing Secondhand Designer Bags

According to Bagaholic’s research, the top 3 reasons designer bag lovers might lose money when buying secondhand are the ability to believe compelling stories (39%), using authentic-looking receipts and packaging (35%), and advanced scams (17%), such as swapping the pictures of several items or forging a third-party authenticity certificate.

Not surprisingly, in most scams the goal is to make the buyer believe that the designer bag in pictures is authentic. But what types of social engineering strategies do they use to let their guard down and trick a potential victim into believing that they’re purchasing a real item?

“52% of designer bags we authenticated last year turned out to be replicas,” Ana Denis, founder of Bagaholic B.V. revealed. “Resale marketplaces try to do their best to call out the listings with replicas, however, we regularly see a variety of fake designer items on reputable platforms. With the quality of replicas evolving, for a first-time and even an experienced buyer, it's extremely stressful and challenging to purchase an authentic item without issues".

Here are the top 3 scam strategies you should be aware of when buying top fashion brands.

Storytelling (39%)

The first way dishonest sellers deceive their buyers is by telling a compelling story. Most scammers just invent a story that sounds real, for instance, that they have bought this bag in Paris. Plenty of people who are aware they’re selling a replica of a designer brand shift responsibility for the bag's history. They either say they received this item as a present, or that they inherited it from a deceased relative.

That’s why when you’re purchasing a secondhand item, it’s extremely important to stop listening to the stories and see the facts.

Using Authentic-Looking Receipts and Packaging (35%)

A lot of first-time buyers of designer items still believe if an item comes with a receipt, then it’s authentic. Unfortunately, the receipt can be counterfeit too. You can learn more in our article How Can a Bag With Receipt be Fake?

In essence, every document might be counterfeit. Receipts are not an exclusion. This is not a guarantee of authenticity, even though a lot of people assume it is.

Advanced Scams (17%)

Advanced scammers know that the buyer will be verifying an item prior to purchasing it with an independent authentication company. So they try to hijack the process. One of the ways of doing that is to switch some pictures of the counterfeit purse they’re selling with the original pictures.

The logic of this scam is simple. The buyer sends these pictures to a third-party authentication company. This company checks the authenticity of the purse. If they only quickly look at the stamps and important details (these pictures are generally taken from another authentic purse of the same style), they might conclude that this is an authentic item.

Therefore, the buyer gets the peace of mind and order the item, unaware that they will not get the item from the pictures.

As we authenticate designer items based on the customer’s or the seller’s pictures, checking the consistency of these pictures is something we at Bagaholic also pay particular attention to. For instance, if the original pictures have different sizes or resolutions, that’s a red flag. From time to time, we see a set of pictures then we’re not able to say whether the item is authentic or fake, but we do see that the buyer is one step away from being scammed out of $1,000-$5,000.

It’s also important to remember that sellers can forge authenticity certificates from third-party luxury bag authentication companies (3% of the 10% mentioned above). Designer items from top luxury bag brands typically have a serial number or a date code inside the purse. In most cases, it’s not unique. Mostly the certificates only present one picture of the designer bag and its serial number/date code. This certificate can be then used with any bag that has the same identification stamp, even with a fake bag.


The surge in the number of scams and the devious speculations have prompted us to create a free mini-course ‘How to Safely Purchase Your First Secondhand Designer Bag’, where we educate consumers on how they can avoid these scams and make sure they’re buying an authentic designer handbag of their choice. Learn more about the course here.

This mini-course is an extension of Bagaholic B.V.'s commitment to providing reliable and trustworthy authentication services to its customers. With years of industry experience and a team of expert authenticators, Bagaholic B.V. is uniquely positioned to offer valuable insights and guidance to those looking to invest in designer handbags or verify designer items.

"We are happy to support the sustainable fashion community of second-hand shoppers with our expertise collected in over 10 years of buying and selling authentic designer items,” concluded Ana. 

The research was done based on the information coming from over 10,000 Bagaholic customers over 5 years. According to our statistics, 10% of buyers face scams. On average, a luxury designer bag costs at least $1,000, so our customers might have cumulatively lost around $1,000,000.

This free course is already available on their website for free. For more information, log on to

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