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Don’t Return Fake Handbags, Our Artificial Intelligence Can Tell When It’s a Phony

The Sun

May 18, 2023

AI technology has helped deal with the trillion-dollar fake handbag problem.

Top brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton have been watching aghast in the last few years as exact, almost perfect, replicas of their most popular products have flooded onto the black market. The issue has been made even worse when people buy a legitimate handbag or wallet only to replace it with a fake and then bring it back to the store.

But tech company Entrupy has developed and fine-tuned a new, easy-to-use software that essentially fingerprints the leather while also picking up on other questionable elements – stitching, label placement, colors for example – and is able to tell within 60 seconds whether the product is real or fake. With the counterfeiters getting smarter and more efficient, Entrupy’s attempt to halt their charge is well-timed.

The software, which has been constantly fine-tuned since its inception in 2016, isn’t hard to use – a camera that is attached to what looks like a bulky battery pack and is able to magnify the fabric at least 100 times and is snapped onto the back of a cell phone. The item in question is placed into view and then the magic really happens. Everything is analyzed, and an authentication result is delivered within a minute, although the times depend on the brand being tested.

That said, as time wears on, the algorithm becomes smarter.

In the past, people would just rely on their own eye-sight to decipher whether or not their $10,000 handbag was for real. Now, though, AI can take away all the guesswork.

Jake Stewart, head of business development at Entrupy, says the software is helping “chip away” at the problem. But actually stopping the counterfeiters at source remains a massive issue.

“Now you have great manufacturing literally all over the world that is capitalizing on this from China to Europe, to the US to the Philippines, and everything in between,” Stewart told The U.S. Sun. “They are quick movers, innovative, and definitely opportunistic.”

“I’ve been in the business 35 years,” said retail expert Ward Kampf, president of Northwood Retail. “But I didn’t realize just how big the problem was.”

Entrupy is also targeting the fake sneaker market and the alarming trend of phony pharmaceuticals coming out of China.

“The list is endless,” added Stewart, who began his career in product development on Nike’s golf team. “The counterfeiters go at anything which has an aftermarket value. It’s scary.”