Counterfeits Where You Least Expect Them.

Pretty Woman Holding Pill BottleCounterfeiting has become a $500 billion a year industry, and designer purses are no longer the number one victim. The number of ordinary household products being counterfeited has recently grown exponentially, quickly gaining the attention of officials. 

Below are just a few examples of counterfeit products reported in the last year: 

1. Vapor Rub
Applied to the skin, typically this rub is used to assist in opening up airways when someone is battling a cold. Counterfeit versions have been popping up in stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Florida leading to the arrest of two brothers on Long Island. Other products these brothers were counterfeiting include ChapStick and baby oil. (Source

2. Batteries

Knock-off batteries have been appearing in stores for quite sometime. Their higher price tag appeals to counterfeiters but, since these criminals are not concerned with quality, knock-off batteries do not work as effectively as their authentic version. The real danger however, lies in the packaging. If the counterfeit batteries are not sealed correctly, the corrosive acid and heat combination could lead to explosion. (Source)

3. Razors
Knock-off Gillette razors have been found in stores across America. These razors are created using materials of inferior quality in substandard facilities. They could quickly become dangerous to anyone using them by causing cuts and/or infections. (Source)

4. Laundry Detergent:
An article from CBS Los Angeles lists counterfeit laundry detergent as a target for officials in California. Counterfeit products are not subject to any FDA regulations which makes its almost impossible to know exactly what you are buying. These products could be diluted, damaged, expired or filled with harmful chemicals that could harm you or your family. (Source

5. Wine:
A UK article released earlier this week claims that there is a 1 in 5 chance that the wine at your local store is fake. These potentially harmful, low quality wines come with convincing high-end labels, making it difficult to spot the fake. Again, as there is no regulation behind counterfeits, illegal alcohol can contain chemicals used in cleaning products, screen wash and antifreeze. (Source)

 

Brand owners advise consumers to be cognizant of where they purchase their products and to always consider how much they are paying for them. However, this “buyer beware” mentality isn’t always effective and can put consumers at risk. This is why DSS strives to provide brand owners with a comprehensive solution to their counterfeiting solutions. 

To learn how AuthentiGuard can protect consumers and brands alike from counterfeit products, please visit www.authentiguard.com 

Top 5 Things You Should Know About Pangea VII and Online Pharmacies

SpilledPillBottle 1.) What is Operation Pangea VII:
Operation Pangea VII is a collaboration of law enforcement, customs and regulatory authority forces of 111 countries to identify the makers and distributors of illegal drug products and medical devices that used the internet to sell their products and then remove these counterfeiters from the supply chain. (Source)

2.) What Did Operation Pangea VII Accomplished:
In just one week of investigations in May 2014, Operation Pangea VII’s efforts at mail facilities around the world resulted in the detention of 19,618 packages containing unapproved or suspected counterfeit prescription drugs. (Source)

3.) The Numbers Behind Illegal Online Pharmacies:
The proof is in the research. A survey conducted by NABP in September 2013 found that 96.7% of online pharmacies selling to U.S. citizens were “rogue.” This means that they did not comply with U.S. laws and regulations and therefore, their medicinal quality could not be guaranteed. In other words, out of over 10,000 online pharmacies included in this survey, only 90 could be verified as legitimate. (Source)

4.) Not Even the Trusted Online Canadian Pharmacies Can be Authenticated:
A second study by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2012 researched samples of five common brand name prescription drugs in their most popular dose from a variety of online pharmacies. The study found that 9% of certified Canadian pharmacies delivered drug samples that were not what they ordered. The same study also verified that many uncertified pharmacies claiming to be Canadian actually shipped from other countries. (Source)

5.) The Dangers Illegal Online Pharmacies Pose to Consumers:
Douglas Stearn, Director of the FDA’s Office of Enforcement and Import Operations, says it best: “When consumers buy prescription drugs from outside the legitimate supply chain, they cannot know if the medicines they receive are counterfeit or even if they contain the right active ingredient in the proper dosages. Consumers have little or no legal recourse if they experience a reaction to the unregulated medication or if they receive no therapeutic benefit at all. In addition to health risks, these pharmacies pose other risks to consumers, including credit card fraud, identity theft or computer viruses.” (Source)

AuthentiSite is working tirelessly to stop dangerous situations like online pharmacies from harming consumers. To learn more on how AuthentiSite can help protect your brand and consumers alike, please visit www.AuthentiGuard.com

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Identifying Counterfeit Beauty Products

As the problem of counterfeit beauty products rises, the AuthentiGuard team has compiled a few quick, easy tips to help you shop safely.

  1. For liquid beauty products such as lotion or hair products, make sure you smell the product before you purchase it. If the smell varies even slightly from the usual clean scent, you may have a counterfeit product at hand.
  2. Check the bottle. Is it damaged, dirty or faded? If yes, this product could have been diverted from the supply chain. The danger that lies here is that this product is most likely expired or tampered with – putting you at risk.
  3. Look closely at the label. If the brand name is misspelled or a logo or image is blurry, there is a good chance that the product you are holding is not authentic.
  4. Be wary of where you purchase your product. Oftentimes stores such as Walmart or Target can get higher end brands that are counterfeit or diverted. Be aware of authorized resellers for your favorite beauty brand. If you are going to purchase a high-end product, purchase it at a salon or beauty store such as Sephora or Ulta.
  5. Don’t buy it online. As the old saying goes, if it is too good to be true, it probably is.

It’s very important to realize how dangerous a counterfeit beauty product is. The groups driving these counterfeit products have no government regulations to abide by. Diverted products can be expired, or improperly stored, leaving you open to a world of harmful bacteria. Additionally, counterfeit products may have been created in an unsanitary environment and may contain dangerous contaminants. For example, there has been reports of toxic chemicals, and even urine, in some counterfeit perfumes.

To learn how AuthentiGuard can help keep your brand and consumers safe, please visit www.AuthentiGuard.com 

The Dangers of Counterfeit Electronics

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Counterfeit products appear in almost every industry – it’s a problem that is growing exponentially across the board. But for electronic manufacturers, this problem has become detrimental. The real threat isn’t just the billion dollar loss in revenue these companies face; it’s the potential harm that these counterfeit electronics pose to consumers. 

Knock-off electronics and electronic components are defined as pieces of equipment that have misrepresented their origins or level of quality. According to Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Colleen Moss of the Cyber Crimes Unit, nothing is off limits to counterfeiters. “Phones, iPods, stereos, TVs, anything that you would consider as an electronic device can and likely is being counterfeited.” (Source).

Counterfeiters prefer to recreate low cost, high volume items such as extension cords and phone chargers. These types of products are not only easiest to pass off as fakes, but the cheapest to reconstruct. Because their quality is substandard, these knock-offs have the propensity to become very dangerous. If wires are poorly insulated, these counterfeit items are the perfect recipe for a house fire.

Just a few months ago, news broke all over the world about counterfeit phone chargers making their way into homes. According to an article by Daily Mail, Tim Gillooley said he was thrown across the room and left with blackened fingers when he tried to simply unplug his counterfeit charger. He worries that had he left his charger in longer it may have burned his home or harmed his family (Source). Another article by CNN attributes the death of a 23 year old girl to a faulty charger (Source). 

The best advice DSS can give consImageumers right now is when buying replacement parts, to simply purchase from the company that made the device. Today, convincing counterfeit products and websites are at every turn but the risk is simply not worth saving the extra few dollars. 

DSS and AuthentiGuard are working every day to prevent dangerous situations just like this. To learn how AuthentiGuard can help keep your brand and consumers safe, please visit www.AuthentiGuard.com 

One Consumer’s Story of Online Counterfeiting

Our webinar last week discussed in depth the findings of our market research study conducted by Harris Poll. Since then, a consumer has stepped up and asked us to share his experience with online counterfeiting with the brand protection community. Below is the interview:

Thanks for speaking with us today. Tell us a little about your experience with counterfeit products.
No problem. I bought tickets to a popular concert through an online ticket reseller website and they were mailed to me shortly after I purchased them. Unfortunately, when I got to the gate come show time, my tickets wouldn’t scan. This is when I learned that my tickets were fake and I wouldn’t be permitted inside the venue.

Did the tickets look counterfeit?
Not at all. They were seemingly identical to the ones the rest of my group had. The only difference was that they wouldn’t scan at the gate.

Who do you feel is responsible for this?
A part of me wants to blame the venue while the other part of me thinks its the website’s fault. Either way, both facilities allowed counterfeit tickets for this show to get into the hands of unknowing consumers.

Were you offered a refund?
No unfortunately not. I was out the money for the tickets.

Have you had any other problems with counterfeit goods since?
Yes, a few months later I tried to purchase a popular pair of shoes online. What happened instead was the money was taken out of my account and the shoes never arrived. When I tried to get into contact with the company, my calls and emails were ignored. I never received a refund.

What would you tell someone in your position? 
I would tell them to always think twice when purchasing something online – especially something that is in high demand. If the items are marked down significantly from retail prices, I wouldn’t go through with it. This can truly happen to anyone.

To learn how brands can protect their products and consumers alike, please visit http://www.AuthentiGuard.com

“Consumers, the Missing Soldiers in the War on Counterfeit Goods” Webinar on June 13

DSS, Inc. a leader in anti-counterfeiting and authentication solutions, will host a webinar on June 13, 2014 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. EST

The webinar titled “Consumers, the Missing Soldiers in the War on Counterfeit Goods, Find Out What They Think” will discuss the findings of the DSS commissioned market research survey titled “DSS Secure Counterfeit Study.”

Pat McInally

Pat McInally, NFL

Ron Guido

Ron Guido

 

 

 

 

 

 

The webinar will feature industry experts Ron Guido, former vice president of Global Brand Protection and Supply Chain Integrity for Johnson & Johnson and Pat McInally, former NFL player, syndicated columnist, author and creator of Kenner Toy’s “Starting Line-up.” Larry Shannon-Missal from Harris Interactive will discuss the research methodology behind the market research survey.

The webinar will cover:

  1.  Current online shopping habits.
  2.  Perceived advantages and disadvantages of shopping online.
  3.  An exploration of counterfeiting and other online shopping concerns.
  4.  The potential impact authentication systems could have for online shopping.

The webinar will provide an inside look into online consumer’s behavior and consumer opinion of online counterfeits. DSS is offering the FULL research summary, free of charge, to all webinar attendees. To sign up, please follow the instructions provided at this link.

The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Document Security Systems, Inc. from January 2-8, 2014 among 1,015 U.S. smartphone owners ages 18 and older. The online survey was not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please call 585-325-3610.

About Pat McInally Pat McInally graduated with honors from Harvard University in 1975.  While at Harvard, he was consensus first team All-American (wide receiver), named second team All-America in his junior season, named First Team All-New England and All-East junior and senior years.  In 1974, he was named both New England Player of the Year and National Football Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete.  He was also named All-Ivy League as punter and wide receiver  and played in the East-West Shrine Game, Hula Bowl, Senior Bowl (first Ivy Leaguer) and College All-Star Game.

In 1975 he was drafted by the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals.  He was the only NFL player ever to achieve a perfect score of 50 on the Wonderlic Intelligence Test.   Mr. McInally’s professional football career includes being named to the NFL 1976 All-Rookie Team, leading the NFL in punting in the 1978-79 and 1981-82 seasons, being named to the 1982 All-Pro Team, and playing in the Pro Bowl as well as playing in Super Bowl XVI.   He has the distinction of being the only Harvard graduate to play in both the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl.

After playing professional football, Pat McInally was enshrined in the Harvard Athletic Hall of Fame, enshrined in the Orange County Hall of Fame, Named to the All-Time Cincinnati Bengal Team, named to the All-Time Orange County Football Team, named to the All-Time,  All-Ivy League Silver Anniversary Team, as both punter and wide receiver, and enshrined in the Collegiate Football Hall of Fame as one of only six individuals named as the top scholar-athletes of the 20th Century.

In the 1980′s, Pat McInally had the number one syndicated sports column in the country, “Pat Answers for Kids”, a weekly article, with readership in excess of 20 million. He also wrote “Moms & Dads, Kids & Sports”, published by Scribners and authored articles for NFL.com, PopWarner.com, NYSCA, Pony League Baseball, soccer organizations, and PacifiCare.com. In 1987 he created Kenner Toys’ “Starting Line-Up”, which is expected to get over 700 million dollars in sales over the next 13 years.   He has worked with the National Council of Youth Sports, National Park and Recreation Association, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and the American Football Coaches Associations.  He presently serves on the NFL’s Youth Football Board with Commissioner Roger Goodall.

About Ron Guido Ron Guido is an independent consultant specializing in brand protection, marketing and supply chain management.  Ron has 36 years of experience with Johnson & Johnson.  He has held executive level positions in the areas of operations, sales & marketing, business development, information technology and general management.

His most recent role was Vice President, Global Brand Protection for Johnson & Johnson where his group was responsible for anti-counterfeiting programs and policies. He continues to consult on the topic of supply security and is broadly recognized by industry peers and government agencies as a leading authority on anti-counterfeiting practices and technologies.

He is a Board member for a charitable medical organization known as Operation Smile and an advisor to the Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Ron holds three patents for medical devices.

Ron has an undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering from Rutgers University and a Masters in Management Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology.

About Nielsen & The Harris Poll On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll.  Nielsen Holdings N.V. is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

2014 UL Brand Protection Conference

DSS is happy to announce we will be exhibiting at the 2014 UL Brand Protection Conference June 24-25th in Los Angeles. 

For over 15 years, UL has taken an aggressive stance against product counterfeiting through a comprehensive program involving enforcement, education and partnerships with key IP crime stakeholders from around the world.

As part of UL’s public service and safety-oriented mission, UL is organizing the 2014 conference to serve as a catalyst to strengthen and enhance brand protection programs, provide best practices for combatting IP crime and to strengthen global partnerships against this growing threat. 

How can we help you ensure you are protecting your brand, website and consumers from counterfeiters? Come meet us at the UL Conference to find out! We’ll show you how we can help:

  1. Quickly distinguish between real and fake products throughout every level of your supply chain
  2. Receive real-time, worldwide reporting
  3. Engage, encourage and connect with your customers.
  4. Establish e-commerce website validation

To schedule a meeting with us, please contact Kaitlyn White at kwhite@DSSsecure.com

For more information on how AuthentiSuite can help protect brands and consumers alike, please visit www.AuthentiGuard.com