Fans, we only reported last week that there was an increase in thefts at visual kei lives in Japan, and today I’ve had to come with another sad warning.
This one is more likely to affect overseas fans who purchase cheki using bidding sites like mbok and yahoo auctions.
What is this problem?
Fake cheki scams.
Most fans are aware of what cheki are: Little Polaroid pictures of their favorite band members striking a pose. Cheki are more popular with smaller to mid-sized visual bands (the GazettE, for example, no longer sell cheki as it would take hours upon hours of photographs to sell to their fans) but occasionally you can find really rare and hard-to-find cheki of some older bands (this hamster has a handful of D cheki that he cherishes very, very much!) What makes them unique is that they’re one-of-a-kind: Each photograph is different from the next, as there was no way to replicate that exact pose.
That is, until Fujifilm released a new cheki printer earlier this year that can take photos directly from a person’s smartphone. Prior to that, cheki were much easier to tell if they were fake– fans hoping to make a quick buck would photograph their own cheki using their Fujifilm cameras, giving the photographs a very distinct shine, glimmer, or halo that would show automatically that the cheki was a replica.
Now, it has become that much more difficult to tell.
While it is still relatively uncommon, reports began popping up at the beginning of the year that fake cheki were making a comeback on Japanese bidding sites. One of our readers, Garrett_NB, has given us permission to use an example photograph he captured from one of the bidding websites that contained a fake cheki for the band “NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST.”
As you can see on the left, the cheki is a part of a cheki set (it seems that the other cheki are not fake.) You can see on the right is a photograph of Cazqui and Tomozo of TRIGGAH taken directly from guitarist Cazqui’s twitter (which can be found here.)
Please note that this is only one example of multiple cases for a variety of different bands. If you do not purchase cheki of this particular band, it does not mean you shouldn’t be diligent in checking your cheki prior to purchasing or bidding, or having a company or friend purchase or bid for you.
What can you do if you suspect the cheki is fake?
- Check the band’s OHP, twitter, and ameblo blogs to see if the photograph comes from there. Please note that some band members take a photo of their own cheki (usually at an angle or with another item) so those typically won’t be used in cheki scams, as the dimensions will be off.
- Check if the photo looks strange (grainy, discolored, over-saturated, etc.) and check the description and see if any reason is given.
- Check the other items the seller is currently selling. Does the same cheki pop up more than once? Does the seller have a bad reputation?
- Does it look like a cheki picture? In the example, the fake cheki looks odd compared to the others. Its color, style, and detail don’t seem to fit in.
In the unlikely even that you’ve already purchased cheki and found out they are fake, there is not very much you can do as a lot of items are buy at your own risk. However, if you have bought a fake cheki, there are some things you may want to do.
- Tell the local fan community what happened and give details. The best way to prevent falling for a scam is to be aware that it’s happening. If your favorite band has had a problem with fake cheki, make sure everyone is on watch!
- If you purchased from a shopping service, see if you can receive a refund, or if they can report the original seller as fraudulent.
- Report it! If you purchased a fake cheki, make sure to give the seller negative review. If possible, report it to the site you used. They may not be able to get your money back, but they may be able to stop it from happening to another person.
- Stay positive: A fake cheki may be frustrating, but it does happen! Remember that you’ve received many more real cheki than fake cheki, so don’t let one bad experience ruin your cheki collecting!
- Try to be more vigilant in the future. Keep an eye out for some of the things we have suggested so it never happens to you!
- And, of course: Don’t sell your cheki off onto any unsuspecting fans.
Now, fans, have you ever bought a fake cheki? What did you do?
Ernie wants everyone to have fun with their crazy cheki habits, so please make sure to practice safe buying!