When I first entered the Cisco industry and was warned to beware of counterfeiters, I couldn't help but imagine being pulled into a dark alley and offered a shopping list of gear at prices more shocking than the bulk rates found in Oriental Trading.
After several years of experience, I've found the alleys aren't really that dark at all. They're actually well lit (by LCD) in the form of IMs and email messages. The prices are just as shocking as I expected. Of course that is always a red flag from an unknown source.
Below is an actual IM correspondence between a counterfeiter attempting to sell fake Cisco to one of our wholesale reps, Kevin Smith. Only the names and AIM monikers have been edited.
[11:03] Counterfeiter: Hi, Nice to meet you here. This is XXXXX from XXXXXXXX XXXXXXX Technology (H.K.) Co., Ltd.,. China. We specialize in network hardware, CISCO HP INTEL 3COM
[11:03] Kevin: good to meet you
[11:04] Kevin: are you looking for anything today either on the buy or the sell?
[11:04] Counterfeiter: we sell
[11:04] Kevin: have a list of what is available?
[11:05] Counterfeiter: yes, we'd like to send it to you, may i have your email please? thanks
[11:05] Kevin: ksmith at vibrant.com
[11:06] Counterfeiter: thanks, and a moment please
[11:06] Kevin: ty
[11:14] Counterfeiter: ok,it was sent to u successfully, please check your email, thanks
[11:14] Kevin: looking
[11:15] Kevin: nothing yet, I will keep checking
[11:15] Counterfeiter: ok, thanks. maybe it will take some time
[11:15] Kevin: I will let you know when I get it
[11:15] Counterfeiter: thanks a lot
[11:18] Kevin: what is cost on WIC-1DSU-T1 -v2
[11:18] Counterfeiter: ok, a moment please
[11:19] Counterfeiter: about $85 ea.
[11:20] Counterfeiter: exc;uding freight cost
[11:20] Kevin: are these real (halogram) Cisco?
[11:20] Counterfeiter: excluding
[11:21] Counterfeiter: as u know, it is impossible to buy real cisco at this price , right?
[11:21] Kevin: I only deal in real Cisco
(The counterfeiter went on to offer the same part "authentic" for $285. Since that's still 70% off of list, we're sure he was just quoting the same part. In other words, end of conversation.)