How to Spot Counterfeit Football Merchandise

NFLEarlier this year federal officials announced a crackdown on counterfeit goods, ending in the seizure of more than $21.6 million in fake NFL merchandise. 

As you may or may not know, counterfeiters use inferior materials and craftsmanship to produce look-alike products that do not benefit the teams, the players, or the employees of the U.S. based companies and trademark holders. Honestly, the only place your support for the team is going is into the pockets of criminals hiding out abroad.

With kickoff right around the corner, DSS has decided to provide our readers with some quick tips and tricks on how to spot a fake.

  • Tags tell all. In most counterfeit NFL gear, there is only one tag for washing instructions. However, in a authentic pieces, there are two tags; one for washing instructions and a second for a serial number. That quality of these tags often differ as well – the real ones are shiny and smooth while the fake ones feel like paper.
  • The look and feel of the jersey is your second indicator if you’re dealing with a counterfeit product. The numbers and/or lettering on an authentic NFL jersey will have a smooth look and wont feel loose or fragile to the touch. On the other hand, a fake jersey will feel likely feel rough, the colors will seem faded or wrong all together and the lettering will often times begin to peel away.
  • Lastly, the price of the jersey is probably the best giveaway to spot a fake jersey. Most of these fake jerseys sport a $50 price tag. Remember you get what you pay for and the quality is equal to what you pay for the jersey – cheap.

Consumers should be made aware that these counterfeit items are found in both stores and websites. Some studies show that as many as 800,000 counterfeit jerseys are sold online each year.

DSS is working around the clock to stop the sale of counterfeit merchandise. To learn how AuthentiGuard can protect consumers and brands alike, please visit www.AuthentiGuard.com

Did They Get Your Customer’s Usernames and Passwords?

Early last week, in what some are calling the “biggest internet heist in history”, Russian hackers amassed over one billion username and password combinations.

This comes not even a year after 40 million credit card numbers were stolen from a major retailer – causing experts and consumers alike to wonder if keeping personal information out of the hands of thieves is a loosing battle.

DSS is here to tell you, it’s not.

Our AuthentiSite solution provides true, two-factor authentication for websites through the use of our patented Prism mark and a smartphone application.

Are phishing emails targeting your customers?
Are you having issues with counterfeit websites or products damaging your brands reputation?Would you like consumers to inform you when they have encountered counterfeit websites?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, our free informational webinar on September 8th at 2pm EST is for you.

Click here to register.

During this quick half-hour session, you will learn:

  1. How to identify the real dangers to your brand
  2. Current technologies and solutions
  3. Ways to create proactive customer involvement

Click here to register.

We look forward to your attendance! In the meantime, should you have any questions about our products and services, please visit www.AuthentiGuard.com

Today’s Growing Cyber Threats

cybersecurity

Earlier this week, in what some are calling the “biggest internet heist in history”, Russian hackers amassed over one billion username and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses.

This comes not even a year after 40 million credit card numbers were stolen from Target and cyber criminals attacked Adobe’s databases – causing experts and consumers alike to wonder if keeping personal information out of the hands of thieves is a losing battle.

What do these thieves want with your usernames and passwords? For the Russians in particular, they were using the logins to spam weight loss ads on social media accounts for, what is believed to be, third party groups. Although some credentials have been sold to the black market, many remain in the hands of the Russian Gang. Should these professional criminals decide to sell the information, it would be very lucrative for the gang.

While a credit cards can be cancelled, things such as an email address or social security number are easy targets for identity theft. Consumers tend to use the same email and passwords for several different websites. Criminals take these credentials and test them on websites that hold valuable information, such as banks or brokerage firms.

“Companies that rely on usernames and passwords have to develop a sense of urgency about changing this,” said Avivah Litan, a security analyst at the research firm Gartner. “Until they do, criminals will just keep stockpiling people’s credentials.

This is where DSS’s AuthentiSite Solution comes in. By implementing AuthentiSite, consumers will know they are on a trusted website, and brand owners will be able to verify it is a customer, not a hacker, on their website.

For example; John Smith will be able to verify he is on his trusted banking website (not a fake, phishing site) and the bank will be able to verify that John Smith is accessing his own account.

It all starts with our patented Prism mark. This mark’s security technology is tied into our secure server making it virtually impossible for criminals to duplicate the mark on illegal or fraudulent websites.

If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for our free, informational webinar on September 8th at 2pm EST. During this webinar, industry experts will discuss AuthentiSite and how the program is being continuously developed to end cyber attacks.

To register, click here.

In the meantime, to learn how AuthentiGuard can help protect brand owners and consumers alike, please visit www.AuthentiGuard.com

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Illicit Cigarette Problems? AuthentiGuard Can Help.

Last week, DSS explained just how bad the illicit cigarette trade is for consumers – to read the full story click here.

This is a growing problems that costs consumer’s their health and the tobacco manufactures hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

But what if we told you there was a brand protection solution that would help solve this problem and save your company money?

AuthentiGuard is that solution.

Interested in learning more? If so, than our free informational webinar on August 11th at 3pm is for you.

Click here to register

During this half hour session, we will explain:

  1. The Real Dangers to Your Brand
  2. Current Technologies and Solutions
  3. Ways to Create Proactive Customer Involvement

Click here to register

Should you have any questions about registering, please contact Kaitlyn White at kwhite@DSSsecure.com

The Top Three Dangers of Illicit Cigarette Trade

stack-of-cigarettes

The illicit cigarette trade is defined as “the product, import, export, purchase, sale or possession of tobacco goods which fail to comply with legislation.”

This includes categories such as contraband (smuggled tobacco products without domestic duty paid), counterfeit (manufactured cigarettes without authorization from the rightful owners, with intent to deceive consumers) and illicit whites (brands manufactured legitimately in one country but smuggled and sold in another without duties being paid).

Below are the top three reasons why the illicit cigarette trade is dangerous to consumers:

The Price:
With its lower-than-market price and easy purchase channels, illicit cigarette trade creates affordability for youth. For example; in Canada, illegal cigarettes accounted for almost 20% of all cigarettes smoked by adolescents. In addition, the low price make illicit cigarettes more available. The availability not only encourages youth to begin and continue smoking long-term but also makes it less likely that they will quit.

The Supporters:
Cigarette smuggling often leads to the funding of much larger criminal operations, such as drug smuggling or human trafficking. These criminal organizations are attracted to the low production cost, high demand and huge profit margins that illegal cigarettes create. In one example, police estimate that the IRA (Irish Republican Army) was able to make $100 million in the past five years in illicit cigarette trafficking alone.

The Quality:
Illegal cigarettes are not subject to any regulation, nor do they comply with industry standards. Because of this, they pose increased health risks to smokers. The ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) warns that counterfeit cigarettes were found to contain five times more cadmium, six times more lead, 160% more tar and 133% more carbon dioxide. In addition, these knock-off cigarettes are typically kept in unsanitary conditions; some were found to contain dead flies, mold and even human feces.

Governments and brand owners alike warn consumers of the common indicators of illicit cigarettes such as cheap price, unusual taste and the absence of warnings. However, leaving this responsibility up to the consumer can likely put the consumer’s health and life at risk.

DSS and AuthentiGuard are working around the clock to stop dangerous situations such as this. To learn how AuthentiGuard can protect consumers and brands alike, please visit www.AuthentiGuard.com

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