Go through these telltale signs that can help you identify an original from a counterfeit, and make sure you are not taken for a ride.

Unreal discounts
If you buy something, especially online, at a fraction of the price, or the deal is too good to be true, it usually is. Know how much discount is typically available on branded or luxury items and if the offer is unrealistically low, say, 70-80% of the MRP, then you are definitely buying a fake.

Flimsy packaging
This is a dead giveaway as good brands and businesses take a lot of care and spend a lot of money on packaging. If the item is shabbily packed, doesn’t fit properly in the box, uses substandard material like cheap plastic or sagging cardboard, take it as a sign of counterfeiting. Similarly, if you get a product without any packaging at all, know it to be a fake.

Grammatical & spelling mistakes
Counterfeit products can be easily identified through wrong spelling (an extra or a missing letter) or grammatical errors. For instance, Hewlett Packard will be written as Hewlet, or Louis Vuitton may be spelt as Vitton. While these mistakes in brand names are deliberate to lure the careless customer, those in the product information or instruction manual reflect the fraudsters’ lack of education. So read carefully for this clear giveaway.

Fake websites
If you are shopping online, one easy way to counter the purchase of fake items is to check the authenticity of websites. If the site is fake, so are the products.

Poor quality of products
The quality of counterfeit products is usually suspect, with cheap alternatives used in place of the original. The material can be tacky plastic, fake leather, cheap glass, poor quality cloth, old or used parts in electronic appliances and gadgets. Even the shape of the containers can be slightly different. If the product has a course, used feel to it, do not buy it.