Shopping Safe Online – The Golf Addition

Golf ball on white tee and golf club preparing to shot.

A few weeks ago we posted an article about counterfeit golf apparel, clubs and accessories and how they were making their way into homes of unknowing consumers.

Today, we’re going to be talking about how to avoid buying counterfeit golf clubs and accessories online. With KeepGolfReal.com removing more than 250 fake golf websites last year, the problem is real and growing.

Below are a few tips and tricks to make sure you are shopping safe online:

  1. Feedback: Always check the reviews before purchasing a golf club online. If there are several complaints about a product not shipping, the products quality or the website’s poor customer service, these could all be signs that you are dealing with a fake website.
  2. Great Deal: Even on auction websites, if the deal is too good to be true, it is. Often times knock-off sellers will justify the low cost as “received as gift” or “won in a raffle.” Don’t let it deceive you – it’s fake.
  3. Serial Numbers: When in doubt, ask for the serial number. If the company or seller refuses to provide it to you, it is a clear indicator that it is not a real product.

Always remember, if you are curious about whether you are on a true authorized reseller of the product you are looking to purchase, you can always check with the manufacture. Many times manufacture websites will gladly provide a list of their licensed resellers.

DSS and AuthentiSite can help consumer and brand owners alike prove website’s authenticity. To learn more, please visit www.AuthentiGuard.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

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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 

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 

NADDI 2014 Rx Drug Drop Box Grant Program

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NADDI is offering law enforcement an opportunity to receive a free locked box to accept unwanted and expired pharmaceuticals every day of the week in their own law enforcement facility.

Sponsored by Endo and Zogenix Pharmaceuticals, NADDI is now accepting letters authored ands signed by the top law enforcement official on their letterhead, detailing the agency’s need to receive free of charge one of these boxes.

Upon approval, the box will be shipped directly to your law enforcement agency to begin to remove these unwanted and expired medications from your community. To apply for a box, review the information and download the application letter, please visit http://rxdrugdropbox.org/ 

For more information on how brand owners and consumers alike can curb the issue of counterfeit websites and product, please visit www.AuthentiGuard.com 

Brand Protection Game: The Results

We had a great response to last week’s brand protection game! Our goal for this was to simply see how companies are currently handling the issue of counterfeiting.

Without further ado, the results:

1.) Has your company seen a rise in counterfeit products or websites? 

  • 100% of respondents said yes

2.) Does your company have a dedicated brand protection department?

  • 50% of respondents said yes
  • 50% of respondents said no

3.) Currently, how much of your company’s budget is allocated towards brand protection?

  • 50% of respondents said 0%
  • 20% of respondents said 25%
  • 17% of respondents said 50%
  • 0 respondents said 75% or more
  • In addition to this several respondents said “5%” or “unknown”

4.) Does your company engage in searching or tracking the web for counterfeit websites?

  • 33% of respondents said yes
  • 66% of respondents said no

5.) Has your company done anything to engage it’s consumers in the fight against counterfeit products and websites?

  • 33% of respondents said yes
  • 66% of respondents said no

The main takeaway we found from this game was that despite the fact every participant has seen a rise in counterfeit products and websites, companies are still dragging their feet when it comes to protecting their consumers. 

What do you think companies could do to help curb this growing problem? Tell us in the comments!

For more information on how AuthentiGuard can help brand owners and consumers alike, please visit www.AuthentiGuard.com 

The Brand Protection Game!

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Every major brand puts in some effort to fight counterfeit products and websites. Take our quick survey to see where you and your company rate.

Click here to take our survey!

The results will be posted here, the DSS blog, next week!

Disclaimer: all information will remain anonymous. This survey is strictly for fun and to see where you and your company stock up against the rest of the brand protection community.

For more information on how AuthentiGuard can help brand owners and consumers alike, please visit www.AuthentiGuard.com