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 


The Dangers of Counterfeit Electronics


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 

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

“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,, NYSCA, Pony League Baseball, soccer organizations, and 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