You’re probably asking yourself right now “Hey didn’t they write an article on this topic a while ago?” Well you’re correct, but A LOT has happened since that first “How to Spot a Fake Funko Pop!” article and we are still here to help. Fake or fraudulent Pop! have become a SERIOUS problem over the last few years and one thing we’ve noticed is fakes seem to be popping up (no pun intended) almost daily.
What was once limited to a few items, has now grown to double digit figures almost overnight. Whether it’s by choice or horrible misfortune, we all run the risk of becoming the victim of receiving a counterfeit Pop! But have no fear, the PCA has your back and we have revamped this article with examples, images and additional tips to assist you in your search for authentic Funko products.
We will also be launching a Fake Pop! Database on the site to aid collectors and sellers everywhere. COMING SOON
Be Aware of Who / Where you are Purchasing From
On eBay if it ships from China there is a 99.9% chance it’s a fake. You may notice deep discounts (50% – 90%) off of Pop Price Guide pricing on those same listings, which should register as a RED FLAG immediately. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is and in most, if not all, of those cases listings are associated with a stock photo of each item (another RED FLAG). Here is a consolidated list of warning signs you should avoid when purchasing:
- Ships and Sells from China
- Not much to add here. Plain and simple avoid!
- Negative or Limited Reviews / Feedback
- Most of these reviews will have people waving the counterfeit flag.
- A low number of reviews could also mean someone recently created the account to sell off a ton of fake items and then run away with the money before anyone notices
- Large Quantities Available
- We all know how hard vaulted items are to find and a common theme with the fake listings is they have a large quantity available for purchase. Do they really think we believe the story “I just stumbled upon these boxes full of SDCC Lunas I might as well sell them for 75% off of PPG.”
- If it says 99 items are available or 50 sold at this price, simply avoid the listing.
- Deep, Deep Discounts
- As mentioned above if a price is too good to be true it normally is. People who have $100 plus items aren’t going to sell them for $22.50 and this is especially true if they have 200 of them.
When purchasing from Facebook, local swaps, Apps like Offer Up, Mercari, etc, be sure to check feedback on the sellers. Most selling/trading Facebook groups have feedback threads and anytime you are planning a purchase, please reference these tools. The collecting community has done a wonderful job policing the fakes, but scammers can still slip in fake image to push the sale. Always, always, always remember to use goods and services when using PayPal as a form of payment. This is an added layer of protection, should you be scammed.
Here are some additional tips when negotiating a deal outside of eBay:
- Ask to see as many images as possible of the Pop!
- This is the best weapon against fakes. If you are concerned about the images they are sending request that they add a time stamp with their name in the picture. You’ll discover their intentions quickly if they go silent after you ask.
- If the seller is a member of Funko related Facebook group reference other members or friends that have completed deals with the seller before
- Always remember to phone a friend in these cases. Sometimes all you need to do is ask other members in the group to vouch for the individual if there is little feedback available for the seller.
- Check the Sellers Profile
- Number one RED FLAG: they recently joined to Facebook.
- One strategy scammers employ is to create multiple profiles to run scams with. Often these profiles are created within the past 6 months.
- Limited posts and communications stand out here as well. If they aren’t active or members of multiple groups there’s a chance they joined to scam and then run.
Even with all these strategies applied you still run the risk of purchasing a fake Pop! So, I will say it again, when making a payment to a seller ensure there are protections in place for you to get your money back (IE Goods and Services on PayPal). If you are in doubt read the Terms and Conditions on the website or app of whatever payment processing platform you select. I know it’s like watching paint dry, but you can always Google this information as well.
Common Themes of Counterfeit Funko Items
Verify product number on the bottom of the box
Numbers are different depending on licenses and manufacturers, but will always include the year and item number produced. Most fakes lack this product number, or have an item number that has been printed from a label maker. Please note that a counterfeit Pop!’s item number will almost always appear in bolder text accompanied with a wider sticker. Also note, some numbers are pressed opposed to printed but will always be located on the bottom of the box.
This is one of the biggest improvements counterfeiters have made when producing fake items. Sometimes they have really nailed the design with little indication the items are fake. Still there are tiny identifiers to look for as they can’t always get everything correct. We have collected some good examples of what to look for:
One of the easiest ways to quickly identify a fake is the boarder around the Pop! window. Often the boarder around the image and Pop! logos will appear much wider than the authentic version. Sometimes the white boarder will not completely outline the image and appear with gaps. Reference the images above for examples.
Box Fonts and Logos
Counterfeits often contain different fonts on UPC codes or other text on the box. A large number of fakes will have different fonts on logos, information on the bottom of the box, and the Pop! categories logo. Also, some counterfeit items will have the copyright notice printed incorrectly. If you notice something strange with fonts or details on the box always reference images on eBay or Facebook groups to compare.
When producing a fake Pop!, forgers often forget details such as logos or what line of Pop! it is. The fake is clearly missing both the Funko Line title and the Funko logo on the Convention Exclusive sticker. Lack of detail is always a clear indicator someone is trying to pass an item off as authentic, although some can be very convincing. Again, reference images from reliable sources (Facebook groups or eBay).
Coloring, Numbering, Stickers and the Rest……
Sometimes fakes look so convincing you may find yourself questioning if the authentic items are forgeries. Forgers spend a TON of time trying to nail the design and the box details, but sometimes there are other areas to look when you are in doubt.
Most fakes have a different coloring either painted on the Pop! figure or on the box. You can see this with the Martian Manhunter above, his paint appears much darker than his authentic counterpart, both on the Pop! and the box. Also, when producing fakes the smaller details are often missed especially now that Funko has made more complex designs with their Pop!
Getting the box artwork correct is very difficult and is always a clear indicator of a fake. Numbering in the top front right, backs and sides can often be different from the authentic Pop! boxes. Sometimes you’ll notice the number is off centered or too close together, in some cases the double-digit numbers may touch or overlap. Again, the easiest way to identify correct numbering is to reference authentic Pop! from friends or known good eBay listings.
Con stickers have become a BIG and important topic for collectors in recent years and the demand for “Convention Only Stickers” has driven forgers to enter this territory as well. In some cases, it’s very difficult to identify fake stickers and you’ll have to ask for help from the community, but details are often left out too. Fake stickers may have wider boarders, incorrect coloring or text missing, again reference images in Facebook groups, eBay or friends that may have the Pop! in their collections.
Attention to Detail
Paying attention to the detail on fakes is important as well. Some forgers will not take the time necessary to get the detail accurate in fakes. A couple of great cases are the Unmasked Jason Voorhees and GITD Deadite. For the Deadite the GITD material may appear more translucent than the authentic version and missing the bloody details on the box and figure too. While Jason Voorhees misses the mark entirely.
Ask for images of the figures feet
Verify there is an item number stamped on the feet and a Funko LLC logo somewhere on the Pop! This could be on the items head below the chin or back of the head, but primarily is found on the foot with a corresponding item number stamp. Newer Pop! will feature the same item number as the bottom of the box, while older Pop! had a smaller number associated with each item. Also, check the feet for unfinished paint. This could indicate a fake, but remember older Pop! didn’t always have the greatest paint jobs.
Other Tools to Identify Fake Funko Pop!
- Use Facebook groups to post, attach images and ask a crowd. In most cases, someone will own the Pop! you are inquiring about and assist.
- If you know a friend who as the pop ask them to send you photos
- Use Reddit or the Funko Funatic boards. Tons of collectors are always willing to assist.
- Reference the Pop Collectors Alliance Fake Pop! Database