(CBS) - It might look like an Apple store. It might sell Apple products. But, it may not be an Apple store!
Fake Apple stores are on the rise, says BirdAbroad blogger, a 27-year-old American woman currently living in Kunming, China.
She writes about a recent "Apple" discovery: "When we strolled down a street a few blocks from our house a couple weeks ago, I was only sort of surprised to see this new place, one that any American of my generation can probably recognize instantaneously: It's an Apple store! Or is it?"
The blogger goes inside to poke around and realizes, "This was a total Apple store ripoff. A beautiful rip-off - a brilliant one - the best rip-off store we had ever seen (and we see them every day)."
Don't be fooled by the merchandise on the seemingly Apple-esque shelves and the seemlingly Apple-esque employees. They might wear blue T-shirts with the Apple logo on them and don those big, dangling Apple name tags. They might actually stock their shelves with real Apple products even! But, some are not the real deal.
It's almost so believable that the staff actually believes they work at Apple, says the blogger.
"The fake stores are selling real Apple products, though it's unclear how they're procured," reports New York Times.
How could the observant BirdAbroad blogger tell? She says the stairs seemed poorly made and the store had a sign that read "Apple Store" on it. She points out that a real Apple store would merely showcase the brand's illuminated logo.
So now what? "Apple's job will be to shut down the stores. But the rip-off stores are probably just the tip of the iceberg," says ZDNet. "Apple is likely to have a lot more counterfeit fires to put out as it enjoys crazy growth in China. Those profits are only going to attract more con artists."