On this forum is mostly fellow users like yourself, and we can't really help too much with licensing problems.
For those issues, it's best to contact Adobe directly – via live online chat is usually the fastest:
I spoke with Adobe and they've confirmed the serial number is counterfeit. Dang... I knew online piracy was rife but didn't realise physical manufacture was so prevalent too. Trying to sort a refund... meanwhile I'm continuing my CC subscription :-)
Yes, unfortunately 'being physical' (having a CD/DVD etc) doesn't mean much these days... The counterfeiters have gotten very good.
Could you tell the difference between these two? It’s often very difficult to know from the outside of the packaging, or even from the inside...
Box – Bottom
Thanks, PDT :-S yeah the box doesn't have a hologram on the label of the box... it's a very very good copy, but it's a copy... I guess the counterfeit market for this stuff was enormous. My eBay seller, whom I already suspected had no idea, was mortified and initiated a refund straight away. I feel bad for the seller. It's amazing that ten years later these things are still changing hands. I guess most people would skip registration and wouldn't bother logging the serial with Adobe.
When I "deactivated" the software (god knows if it actually did anything, and either way it was pointless) and uninstalled it, I noticed two additional Windows updates had installed straight after the PS install. I uninstalled them to be on the safe side, then ran Windows updates again and those two items did NOT get installed again. So I wonder if those were phony. Thanks for the tip - I just ran a malware scan, it says I'm clear - touch wood that's right...