How to Check a Certificate of Authenticity

Many product makers---especially artists, electronics and software manufacturers and producers of collectable items---provide consumers with a document or label called a Certificate of Authenticity (C.O.A.) as proof that the product is original and authentic. Consumers can then use these certificates for various purposes, such as validating a product's origin, age and/or value, or to acquire product support or replacement under warranty. Checking a C.O.A. requires that you consult the product maker and/or an authorised representative (dealer, officially recognised expert or associated organisation).

Call the product maker and ask for a description of the product's Certificate of Authenticity. Most genuine certificates contain at least the product maker's name, contact information, a statement of authenticity and specific details about the product and/or the product maker (for example, a product number or barcode). The product maker may have also designed the C.O.A. in a particular shape or with security features such as watermarks, holograms, special inks or micro-printed information or metallic security threads.

Ask the product maker for the address of a nearby authorised representative or expert trained to recognise the official C.O.A. associated with your product. As many criminals forge Certificates of Authenticity, an in-person authentication is required to guarantee that your Certificate of Authenticity is genuine---especially if you find initially that your C.O.A. doesn't match the product maker's description completely (has missing information, incorrect ink colours and/or additional text or marks).

Take your C.O.A. and product to the authorised representative for evaluation. If it turns out that you own a copy of an original product or a stolen original that resold with a forged certificate, report the crime as instructed by the representative

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