One might assume that the luxury world is a fairly safe and innocuous place. Dreaming of buying a plush, new handbag should conjure up ideas of pristine storefronts and trays of champagne – not the fear of black market thefts and scams. Unfortunately, recent events have demonstrated that some criminals have the malicious intent of taking the glamour out of luxury retail for their own personal gain. If you’ve been following the threads on BopTalk, you probably know a little bit about the robberies that have hit boutiques like Chanel and Louis Vuitton. In this luxury news bulletin, PurseBop is here to give you a timeline and quick summary of the latest “handbag crime”. But first, let’s talk about what handbag crime is and what it should mean to you…
What do Handbag Thieves have to gain?
The short is answer is money, of course. But most of the time when thieves target luxury stores, they are not looking to keep the goods for themselves or trade them in elsewhere. Usually the fruits of a heist are sold illicitly on the black market. Whether thieves under or oversell the retail price, they still make a profit since they never invested anything to acquire the goods in the first place. This is troubling for retailers because they lose product and another illegitimate entity gains in return. Consumers are also negatively impacted. Black market sellers sometimes sell fake goods to scam people out of their money. Even more concerning, fake bags unknowingly get recirculated in department stores and online because of these practices.
The Dark Side of the Fake Industry
Over the past few years, the quality of fake bags has increased immensely. Even a trained eye may mistake a fake bag for the real thing. Fake Birkins are quite advanced now – they include authentication numbers and imperfect details to give them a handmade, artesian-made look. Some people turn to the fake handbag market because they feel priced out by certain brands; others just aren’t able to get their hands on the real thing. They may casually think, “This fake bag looks exactly like the real thing and costs less, so why not?” However, this is not a harmless thought and buying fake bags can have huge implications. Counterfeit goods harm the heritage of the real brand, but also indirectly support terrible things like child labor, slavery, human trafficking, and terrorism. Fake goods are so cheap because they are produced in places with little to no regulation. In some cases, people caught willingly buying and selling fake goods get in huge legal trouble.
Now that you have more knowledge about the motivations of handbag crime, read the news blurbs below to see what’s been happening recently…
In April of this year, thieves robbed a Chanel boutique in Paris, torched their SUV, and fled the scene. Again in May, thieves robbed a Chanel Jewelry Boutique on Avenue Montaigne in Paris at gunpoint.
Read more details and the total damage of the heist HERE.
Before you consider purchasing a fake bag, know all the consequences. Counterfeit goods indirectly support a range of illegal institutions like child labor, slavery, and terrorism. Take caution by avoiding fakes and knowing how to spot fakes.
Read all about the Fake Industry HERE.
After hearing the latest news, you may be worried about whether this trend of high profile robberies will only increase in the future. It’s hard to tell, but incidents like this can certainly be reduced if tighter regulations were installed to limit the flow of goods onto the black market to begin with. This might entail higher security at boutiques, more rigorous checks to prove the authenticity of bags, and taking down websites selling goods illegally. Additionally, if penalties for handbag crimes increase, others may be deterred from participating in these illegal activities altogether.
As shoppers, we don’t have to live in a state of worry and anxiety about visiting our favorite boutiques. Protect yourself by being extremely cautious and doing the extra research to make sure your purchases are authentic. Avoid supporting the fake industry if at all possible. One small purchase may be indirectly funding things like child labor or human trafficking.
We’d love for you to join the conversation and share your opinions on these situations in the comments on BopTalk.