Counterfeit Vodka on the Rise – Are you safe?

We’ve all done it – too broke to go out to the bars all night, too bored not to. The only feasible solution is to go to the liquor store and find a bottle of the cheapest vodka on the market and a house party.

Sounds fun, right? Wrong.

An article from the Press Association told a gruesome story of a girl, Lauren Platts, who suffered severe side effects from purchasing cheap vodka. The article stated that the employee of the store she bought it from joked, “It will blind you.” Little did she know, he wasn’t joking.

After consuming about a third of the vodka mixed with lemonade, Platts now two months later, is still having trouble with her eyesight. She states “I’ve been sent home from work because of the vision problems. It’s really scary. I think I might have it for good, but I’m just grateful to be alive.” This problem is not only affecting her ability to work, but affecting her ability to perform routine daily tasks, tasks as simple as crossing the street.

The problem lies with the fact that Platts didn’t just buy cheap vodka, but counterfeit vodka. Bootleggers are using industrial alcohol, compared to traditional agricultural alcohol, mixing it with bleach and a cocktail of other chemicals, and selling it for those desirable low prices.

The end result is a product that is more similar to cleaning fluids and paint stripper than vodka. Counterfeit alcohol has the potential to leave you ill for weeks or in Platt’s case, debilitated.

As news of this growing problem surfaces, counterfeiters are finding an easy way around their falling sales – raise the price. If consumers spend more money on their alcohol, they immediately assume they are buying a product of higher quality. But, all this is really doing, is creating a seemingly endless cycle.

DSS patented Phantom technology would create an easy way for consumers to validate their alcohol purchase. By incorporating this authentication technology into the label, all a consumer would have to do is tilt the bottle, reveal the hidden image, and go home with a clear conscience. Best part of this? Bootleggers won’t be able to easily copy the technology.

For more information on how DSS can help, please visit


Coupon Craze: Ways to Avoid Illegal Couponing for Both the Consumer and the Brand Owners

The coupon craze has hit America hard. With shows like TLC’s Extreme Couponing, it’s a struggle not to clean out the garage and start your own stockpile. But you need to be careful. Illegal couponing happens more than you think and if you aren’t safe, you’ll find the weeks of planning and strategizing for your next big haul, a total waste.

Below are a few helpful tips to help you avoid running into problems, or painting yourself as a counterfeiter.

  1.  Do not photocopy or accept photocopied coupons. It is not an uncommon practice for couponers to meet in groups and trade around that week’s best deals. Online websites offer a wide variety of coupons that are perfect for these occasions. However, what is unknown to many is that these websites track and limit how many of each coupon is permitted. So, if you print off your allotted amount and run to your desktop scanner to print 10 more for your friends, you have just become a counterfeiter.
  2. Do not make your own coupons. This may go without saying but as tempting as it may be, it’s illegal. Think of coupons as currency. You wouldn’t go and create hundred dollar bills, so don’t go and create a hundred dollars’ worth of fake coupons. Even if the store accepts them at the time, they will not be reimbursed which will make them amp up their coupon policies, and make your next trip to the grocery store more tedious.
  3. Do not remove expiration dates. Did you get up to the register and realize that your stack of BOGO coupons expired last week? It’s a big letdown. But don’t let that disappointment drive you to committing fraud. Removing expiration dates is an alteration of an original product and it is illegal. Granted, it might be a quick fix to your BOGO problem, but if you’re caught you can be facing judicial actions.

Brand owners do not take these criminal actions lightly and are constantly looking for ways to protect themselves. DSS offers these companies protection for both physical and digital coupons.

From the paper it is printed on, to the actual barcode itself, DSS creates customizable coupon solutions for well-known brands. When one of these coupons is duplicated, a hidden  message such as ‘VOID’ or ‘UNAUTHORIZED COPY’ appear to warn the cashier against the fraudulent document. Additionally, with the implantation of AuthentiGuard Barcode Barricade, a copied or scanned barcode becomes unreadable.

As for coupons that are found online, DSS Digital Group has developed a way to offer these same protections through a cloud based system, AuthentiGuard DX.

Wither you are the brand owner, or a consumer, taking action to avoid counterfeit coupons helps everyone. As companies no longer have to make up for lost margin, prices on your favorite products stay low, and small business owners won’t have to ramp up their coupon policies in retaliation.

For more information on how we can protect your brand please visit,

Live: Dave Wicker Presents to the NYS Senate about SAT Exam Fraud

Happening now! DSS is proud to say our very own VP of Operations and Research, David Wicker, is presenting to the NYS Senate about ways we can protect against SAT exam fraud.

DSS is a worldwide leader in developing anti-counterfeiting and authentication technologies. With our technologies, the SAT exam will be protected against a wide variety of fraudulent activity.

You can watch the entire presentation here:

For more ways we can protect the SAT and other important physical and digital documents, please visit:

DSS Invited to NYS Senate Committee Hearing Related to SAT Exam Fraud Security Solutions

Committee Chairman, NYS Senator Kenneth LaValle Invites DSS to Recommend Technologies, Policies and Procedures to Prevent SAT Exam Fraud

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Jan. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Document Security Systems, Inc. (NYSE Amex: DSS; “DSS”), a leading  developer and integrator of  secure cloud computing and security printing technologies, announced today that New York State Senator Kenneth LaValle, Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, has invited DSS to speak on suggested improvements to the security of standardized tests.

The Committee feels it appropriate to hold a follow up hearing to examine what procedures have been implemented since the recent alleged wide- ranging SAT cheating scandal, as highlighted in a recent CBS News, 60 Minutes show segment, and what can be done to prevent cheating in the future.

The hearing is scheduled for January 24th, between the hours of 12:00PM and 3:00PM in the Legislative Office Building, Hearing Room A in Albany, New York.  This event will also be streamed live on the NY Senate, Committee on Higher Education webpage found at:

David Wicker, Vice President of Research and Development at DSS will attend and present at the hearing.  Mr. Wicker is a long time member of the Document Security Alliance (“DSA”), an organization comprised of industry experts and federal government agency officials that studies security features of vital U.S. records and documents.  DSA recently named Mr. Wicker Chairman of the Committee on U.S. Driver’s License Security.   David also is an advisory board member of Utica State College’s CIMIP (Center for Identity Management and Information Protection) organization and teaches a periodic seminar on substrate security features at Rochester Institute of Technology and at several federal agencies.

About DSS (Document Security Systems, Inc.)

DSS provides counterfeit prevention and comprehensive brand and digital information protection solutions to corporations, governments, and financial institutions around the world. DSS develops and manufactures products and services containing patented and patent pending optical deterrent technologies that help prevent counterfeiting and brand fraud from the use of the most advanced scanners and copiers in the market.  DSS’s customized solutions are designed to protect against product diversion, counterfeit, and other costly and damaging events.  In addition, The Company owns numerous patented and patent-pending technologies and products.

For more information on DSS and its subsidiaries, please visit

Follow Document Security Systems, Inc. on Facebook, click HERE.

For more information: Investor Relations: Nicole Acton 585-325-3610 Email:

Safe Harbor Statement

The statements contained in this press release that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and are intended to be covered by the safe harbors created thereby. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding expectations for future financial performance, potential sales from new and existing customers, expected benefits from the Company’s cost cutting efforts and/or statements preceded by, followed by or that include the words “believes,” “could,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “intends,” “plans,” “projects,” “seeks,” or similar expressions, all of which involve uncertainty and risk. Many of these risks and uncertainties are discussed in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), and in any subsequent reports filed with the SEC, all of which are available at the SEC’s website at It is possible the company’s future financial performance may differ from expectations due to a variety of factors including, but not limited to, the risks referred to above, and changes in economic and business conditions in the world, increased competitive activity, achieving sales levels to fulfill revenue expectations, consolidation among its competitors and customers, technology advancements, unexpected costs and charges, adequate funding for plans, changes in interest and foreign exchange rates, regulatory and other approvals and failure to implement all plans, for whatever reason. It is not possible to foresee or identify all such factors. Any forward-looking statements in this report are based on current conditions; expected future developments and other factors it believes are appropriate in the circumstances. Prospective investors are cautioned that such statements are not a guarantee of future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected. The company makes no commitment to update any forward-looking statement included herein, or disclose any facts, events or circumstances that may affect the accuracy of any forward-looking statement.

RG&E Customers in Jeopardy as Database Security is Threatened

According to a recent article on 13 WHAM’s website, an ABC affiliate in Rochester NY, Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E) & NYSEG announced that they must alert their customers to an unauthorized access allowed into their customer’s data.

The article states, “This situation involves an employee at an independent firm who allowed unauthorized access to one of the companies’ customer information systems.  The records contain Social Security numbers, dates of birth and, in some cases, financial institution account numbers.”

As a customer to RG&E, you assume they take their responsibility to protect customer data seriously. This issue has the potential to rob the consumers of their identity and those responsible are offering little comfort.  RG&E’s President stated earlier that they have information technology security measures in place. So, what more can they possibly do to protect against human error?

This is not the first time that secure systems have had data breached because of human error.  In December of 2010, a Colorado Sherriff’s office reported that an employee accidentally moved a secure database onto what they thought was a secure server and inadvertently made the information available to the public.

This mistake went unnoticed for a staggering seven months. When tracked, investigators realized that the leaked information was accessed publicly in the US and overseas.

Through DSS Digital Group, there is a technology that would protect data the moment it is entered into a database.  Using program templates, designated data, such as social security numbers, could be encoded using the AuthentiGuard DX system.  This data is then securely stored, and only seen with a specific viewer  whereas unauthorized viewers, would only see a gray area.

This data security would solve RG&E’s probelm with human error and prevent leaks from hackers.  Any hacked data or data sent offsite would be unreadable.  Integrating the DX system into any IT security solution would greatly enhance the security of our personal data.

Transcript Fraud Proves Detrimental to both the College and their Graduates

You may have spent thousands of dollars (not to mention the blood, sweat and tears) to earn that college degree from a top rated school. The justification behind your years of accumulated debt is that you know that degree will help you get a good job.

However, what you and your alma mater may not realize is that there is someone else, who spent 20 minutes with a computer and desktop scanner creating a fraudulent transcript, applying to those same jobs. That person will represent themselves as capable and educated to employers but when they get hired for a job, they cannot perform.

Yes that person will likely lose the job they obtained with their fake college transcript so why does this matter to you? That person being fired means that a prospective employer saw a transcript they believed to be real, that their former employee was educated and received great grades from your college, but could not perform the job. This makes your school look like a joke; a joke that does not train their students to be capable members of the workforce. The employer will likely never hire from that school again.

Simply, what this means is, every time a fake transcript is created and used, your legitimate, expensive degree paints you as incompetent. Employers will not call the schools and tell them they’ve had short comings in a trained student and schools are often completely unaware that a person who never attended their school is tarnishing their reputation.

Think about it, if the hiring rate from a college lowers so does the enrollment rate. Your school could be insignificant in a matter of years.

What is needed here is a more secure college transcript paper that both employers and schools can be educated about.  AuthentiGuard Pantograph 4000 copy and scan deterrent features can make it much more difficult for a fake student to create a passing document and an authentication feature, such as AuthentiGuard Phantom, could even make it impossible.

What can you do? Tell your college that you want them to put the same effort into the credentials they give out as you did earning them. It’ll protect their reputation and your chances at finding a job that you’ve earned.

Packaging Fraud Case Study- Refilled Apple iPad and Wine bottles

Earlier today we wrote about the clay iPads that popped up in Canada. As more information has emerged about this situation we have decided to take a closer look into the problem.

A recent article states that someone bought real iPad2’s with cash, removed the iPad from its packaging and in return, replaced it with a perfectly weighted slab of modeling clay. The counterfeiters then resealed the original packaging and returned it to the store. The crime was done so professionally that Apple employees could not tell the difference in packaging or weight and resold the clay to unwitting customers.

Refilling genuine packaging with a fraudulent product is not a new practice. This is something that has been around for years and is evident even more in the wine and beverage industries. For example, in China, there has been a huge problem with people refilling high-end wine bottles with cheap inexpensive wine, tarnishing the validity of the popular wine industry and brand owners. To the average consumer, the packaging looks legitimate therefore, the wine must be as well. However, to those educated in wine, the difference is overwhelming. The problem has grown so quickly that the organizers of wine tastings are taking to smashing the used bottles with a hammer to curb the activity. But unfortunately, the black market prevails as people are offering significant money for empty bottles from anyone who is offering.

DSS sees a clear solution to this problem. Apple needs to include a tangible seal with authentication features and copy deterrence technologies onto their packaging. This frangible seal is a form of adhesive label that is extremely delicate once applied, and when removed it comes apart in layers and pieces. The copy deterrent AuthentiGuard Pantograph 4000 would prevent a counterfeiter from being able to scan the graphics onto a desktop to create or duplicate the seal. Additionally, adding an authentication technology such as AuthentiGuard Phantom or AuthentiGuard Prism would give retailers a quick and simple way of verifying if a seal on a product is genuine. Both of these technologies cannot be duplicated on a copier or scanner and are not easily mimicked.

These simple solutions would greatly help to prevent the emergence of fraudulent product into the supply chain, reducing financial loss to retailers and brand owners as well as reducing liability to brand value should dangerous fake products enter the market. When combined with covert security features on the original label or packaging itself, DSS would create a strong and more secure solution that would benefit everyone but the counterfeiter.

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