If it came directly from China, it's not an Epiphone. Epiphone, as far as I know, does not ship directly from the factory.
Pafhead, the question you ask has been asked and answered many, many, times on this forum.
If person can copy an Epiphone guitar, they can quite easily copy a serial #. So I'm not sure how you or anyone is going to be able to tell the difference between a "ligit" number and a bogus one.
Buy your Epiphone from a reliable Epiphone dealer- that's the only way to guarantee it.
Its really that simple, just buy from an Epiphone dealer What a revelation!:D/