In their debut appearance, fake items are rainbow-colored. This makes them harder to notice. Also, the fake item will block items.
In Mario Kart: Double Dash!! the fake item boxes have a second upside down question mark and will flash red. They will no longer block items. Their bio also states them to be more effective when their user places them in an unexpected place, such as after or on top of a real Item Box.
In Mario Kart DS the fake item box appears on the touch screen as red instead of the normal blue. They do not have the question mark nor do they spin, reducing their deceptive capabilities. Two missions have the player bust open real Item Boxes while their fake counterparts appear as obstacles.
They also make an appearance in Mario Kart Wii, appearing similar to the one in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. Unlike Mario Kart DS Fake Item Boxes, these bounce when they hit the ground. Also, in Balloon Battle or Coin Runners, fake items can change their colour; Blue Team's Fake Item Boxes are blue, but their question mark and darker colour sets them apart from a real item box.
- This item is similar to the Fake Smash Ball from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate since they impersonate a beneficial item but have a malign effect.