How do we detect fakes?

Image: Cartoonstock

Image: Cartoonstock

Counterfeiting is a murky business. Obviously, counterfeiters are in business to make profits off the back of well established brands. The more insulting aspect of counterfeiting is how they use cheap and often harmful ingredients to make knockoffs. Yes, even handbags aren't spared. I have personally seen numerous bags painted with harmful levels of lead content. Imagine that, lead constantly rubbing against your skin every time you tote that Louis Vuitton Speedy that you bought in China-Town.

We have spent the past 4 years at Entrupy researching counterfeits of all kinds. This research has led us down dangerous paths sometimes, but we're happy to keep doing this to ensure that consumers and businesses don't suffer. 

One part of our research is purchasing a variety of fake luxury goods. We've got an arsenal of fake handbags along with jewelry, shoes, sneakers, jerseys and anything else that's mass replicated. Many of these items are complete garbage, but some of them are amazing. Here's an example of one we recently received:

Hermès Garden Party MM

Imagine seeing this listing on a marketplace with the word "authentic" plastered all over the title and description. Arguably, these types of bags are regularly sold everywhere. It's close to impossible to determine what's fake and what's not, because they've gotten so good! Even physically, we couldn't really tell that they were fake, until we utilized the technology we have created on it. That's when the differences started to really show; at a highly magnified level not visible to a naked eye. We made easy work of this bag and off it goes (into our DB!). Rest assured, you aren't going to be finding this bag on any marketplace! This is why we buy fakes - so our customers and bag-lovers don't! 

Enter Entrupy. We have essentially automated the process of detecting differences between authentics and fakes at a highly magnified level. Our Machine Learning (*shudder*...AI!) algorithms have been trained using a massive database that has taken us almost 2 years to build. This database has a good balance of authentics and a wide diversity of fakes across all styles of the top 20 brands. That's what allows us to know, historically, what the quality metrics of legit brands are vs. how differently the fakes are made. Over 1000s of items, these patterns become stronger and more apparent, which leads to better learning and higher accuracy (even if the "material" has come from the brand itself). Similar to how an expert authenticator would've gotten better with years of practice. We've just crunched that into a tiny device!

We continue working to build and maintain our massive database of authentics and fakes - in fact, with every authentication that is performed by our customers, the resulting goes through our  ‘feedback loop’ to continually improve the authentication process. This Hermès bag is another addition, in line with our soon to be released brand. Keep watching this space. 

 

Vidyuth Srinivasan

Entrupy Inc., 81 Prospect Street, Brooklyn, 11201, United States