I have seen many posts over the years where people believe that they found some type of a preproduction mockup or rare mispack figure at retail. While the manufacturing plants do make mistakes from time to time, it is good to know how to determine whether a figure has been intentionally repackaged.
Let's start with the most common reason. Many unscrupulous individuals have purchased new figures with the intent to exchange the figure and return for full refund. It's usually because the new figure is either more expensive or more desireable. There is usually a little time that goes into cutting or removing the blister in a fashion to be unsuspecting to the employee handling the return.
Second, there are many customizers out there. They can range from a simple head swap, to a completely custom sculpted and painted figure. Generally custom figures are not usually found at retail. However, they can find their way back to the open market (i.e. Toy Shows, eBay, etc.) Eventually these can be resold as a rare mockup or unproduced figure.
To protect yourself, take a careful look at any potential cuts within the blister itself or possible removal from the cardback. Another point to mention is that generally blisters are heat sealed and NOT glued to the cardbacks.
Here is a video that explains the process and can help you identify any package tampering.
Here is an example of a repackaged Xizor with custom Red Shields. The cardback was reprinted. The blister and hanger reinforcer that was removed from a production cardback, cleaned and reattached to the new cardback with a thin layer of clear silicone. The holographic label was simply removed from old package and reattached to the new one.
It is a VERY rare occurrence imo. The first prototype I ever got was found at retail. A mockup saga r2d2 found at walmart on midnight madness night and i literally saw the employees open all the cases and stock the pegs with figures and i grabbed this one when i noticed it was different. For some reason a few of those made it out in cases as I purchased 2 others like mine from the same collector in Hawaii who also bought it at retail.
As you mention though a lot of the ones on ebay people claim are prototypes or errors are indeed fakes that upon close inspection you can see the resealed areas. I have seen some really well done ones though over the years