Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Warning: Fraudulent Sales using RVNHS Text & Images

              In the several years since the RVNHS website was created, we have seen text and images from the site used without our permission for all manner of purposes by a great number of individuals. This has ranged from simple reposting of our material on different websites and forums, to our images and text appearing in print publications. However, the improper usage of material from our website which is the most troubling to us is when our text and images are used to promote fraudulent sales, i.e. "fakes" being passed off as original Republic of Vietnam pieces. We have seen this happen many times, particularly on the world's largest online auction site, eBay. In each instance we become aware of, we go through the appropriate steps to report the auction to eBay, and have it removed. This has become such a common event that not nearly a month goes by when we do not have to report such items several times. But, today, we became aware of two particular items being sold by a seller in Vietnam, which truly underline how severe the situation can become.

        Our purpose for posting this information is to bring awareness to this issue, and prevent unsuspecting individuals from being taken advantage of by fraudulent sellers using text and/or images off of our website. In this posting, we would like to highlight two items being sold on eBay by the seller with the username " greenhorn_0212 ." He is located in Vietnam, and, like many Internet sellers in Vietnam claiming to offer original Republic of Vietnam military items, his are of questionable authenticity.

Screenshot of the original training helmet shown on the RVNHS website.

Fraudulent helmet on eBay based off of the original on RVNHS site.

Description stolen from RVNHS website and used in auction for the fradulent training helmet.
Note how the fraudulent seller even includes the "strong provenance" statement, just as we wrote on our website about the helmet in our collection.

        What motivated us to make a post about this seller in particular is that we believe two of his current auctions are of helmets which were specifically created, i.e. "faked," as copies of original helmets we have on our website. Each helmet bears a striking similarity to ones we have, down to damage and marks of use. The seller is passing them off as original pieces, but it is clear they are fakes made in the fascimile of items shown on our website. A final point to confirm is that the seller uses the descriptions we have for our pieces on our website in his auctions.

Screenshot of the original camouflage covered helmet on the RVNHS website.

Fradulent camouflage helmet on eBay based off of the original on RVNHS site.

Description stolen from RVNHS website and used in auction
for the fradulent camouflage helmet.

      It is because of the activities of fraudulent sellers, like the one shown here, that we do not post large-scale high resolution images of items from the RVNHS Archive online. If we showed close-up images, it would just be more information that fraudulent sellers could use to create fakes to fool unknowning buyers.

           RVNHS is a non-profit group whose purpose is to archive, document, promote, and preserve the history of the Republic of Vietnam. Fraudulent sellers like these ultimately only damage the ability of groups and individuals to preserve history. We are not in the business of selling original pieces. But, when we see material from our website used to promote fraudulent sales, we take offense. It is for this reason we made this post today, and we would like to thank you for taking the time to review it. We also encourage you to share this posting with anyone you know who may be interested so as to prevent unsuspecting individuals from falling prey to fraudulent listings like the two shown here.

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