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

The Impact of Counterfeit Products on Consumers

DSS will be hosting a webinar on June 13th at 10am and 3pm EST to disclose the findings of our online survey, “DSS Secure Counterfeit Study” conducted by Harris Poll. This 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.

Not only will this webinar give you an inside look into online consumer’s behavior but, DSS is offering anyone who attends the FULL research summary free of charge!

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Document Security Systems, Inc. from January 2-8th, 2014 among 1,015 U.S. smartphone owners ages 18 and older. This online survey is 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 the DSS Corporate Office at 585-325-3610.

DSS believes we have answered the question of “What do consumers think of counterfeit products?” and can’t wait to share it with the brand protection community. But, in the meantime, we want to know – how do YOU think consumers feel about counterfeit products? Are they nervous about shopping online? Are consumers more fearful of buying counterfeit purses, electronics or pharmaceuticals? Would authentication technologies ease their minds? Tell us in the comments! 

For information on how to join our webinar, please feel free to contact Kaitlyn White at kwhite@DSSsecure.com.  

Consumers Demand Change

by Pat McInally, DSS Director of Sports and Entertainment
949-466-2460

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Counterfeit products in the sports industry are at an all time high. In just the last few months news broke about: 2,000 fake FIFA World Cups floating around China (Source), a $21.6 million seizure of fake NFL merchandise (Source), and a bust of online counterfeit baseball cards (Source). Every major sports industry is being effected.

Many fans purchase memorabilia in the hopes that it will someday be worth much more. Unfortunately, counterfeiters use inferior materials and craftsmanship to produce look-alike products that hold little to no value.  Honestly in these cases, the only place consumers’ support for the team is going is into the pockets of criminals.

And the consumers are not happy about this. According to a Harris Poll conducted on behalf of DSS in January of 1,000 smartphone owners,  over nine in ten (92%) smartphone owners agree – 72% strongly so – that they’d be angry if they bought someone a product and it turned out to be counterfeit/fake. Counterfeited brands don’t come away untarnished: over seven in ten (72%) say that if they received a counterfeit or fake item from an online retailer, it would lower their trust in the brand being imitated. 

Where are the majority of these counterfeits being sold? The internet. With auction sites and the never ending realm of the web, it has been nearly impossible for consumers to protect themselves from unknowingly purchasing these knockoff products.

There is hope though – according to the same Harris Poll, nine in ten (90%) smartphone owners say they’d have more confidence purchasing a product online if they could verify that the seller was ‘authorized.’ And DSS’s AuthentiSite offers just that. 

A brand who licenses AuthentiSite can employ the mark to its authorized dealers for use on their websites. This revolutionary authentication technology engages the consumer by allowing him or her to validate reseller websites quickly and warning them if they are on a fake site all through an easy to use smartphone APP- giving consumers peace of mind and further trust in a brand. 

Research Methodology: 
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Document Security Systems, Inc. from January 2-8th, 2014 among 1,015 U.S. smartphone owners ages 18 and older. This online survey is 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 the DSS Corporate Office at 585-325-3610.

The Problem With Website Seal Programs

According to truste.com, 90% of adults are concerned about piracy, and 88% avoid companies that don’t protect their privacy. Because of this, companies participate in website seal programs to prove their validity and, in turn, gain their consumer’s trust and business.

In order to earn these seals, companies typically have to go through several privacy and website infrastructure checks. This process is set up to ensure there are minimal threats to a customer’s personal information. Once the website passes, the website is approved to display the seal’s artwork.

The security problem isn’t in the seal process – its the seal’s artwork. According to our online survey, conducted on our behalf by Harris Poll in January, among 1,000 smartphone users (18+), almost half of smartphone owners (48%) believe that marks such as SSL certificates and a verified symbol are signs that an online retailer is genuine.

However, without an authentication feature built directly into the artwork, anyone with a mouse can drag and drop the trusted images onto their own website – without a doubt, counterfeiters know and actively practice this. 

71% of smartphone users stated that merchant websites are at least somewhat capable of preventing online purchases of counterfeit merchandise. But is displaying an easily duplicated image all they can do? We don’t think so. 

Here at DSS, we have taken a strong stance against phishing and counterfeit websites, which is exactly why we created AuthentiSite. By building a seal with a non-transferable authentication feature, and backing it with cloud-based security look-ups, DSS’s AuthentiSite solution bridges the gap between seal programs and actual website authentication.

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

Research methodology:
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Document Security Systems, Inc. from January 2-8th, 2014 among 1,015 U.S. smartphone owners ages 18 and older. This online survey is 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 the DSS Corporate Office at 585-325-3610.

ONLINE COUNTERFEITING – WHO IS TO BLAME?

Online shopping is a growing trend and counterfeiters are taking full advantage, launching sophisticated, bogus websites daily. These websites serve as an outlet for counterfeit goods and phishing attempts that scam everyday consumers into paying money for a product with little to no value – if they even get a product at all.

As this problem grows, the question arises – who is to blame? Is it the consumer for buying the product or the counterfeited brand for letting it happen?

Document Security Systems, Inc. (DSS) took a closer look at this issue and conducted a research study examining what consumers thought about online shopping security.

According to our online survey, conducted on our behalf by Harris Poll in January among 1,000 smartphone users (18+), 71% of smartphone users stated that merchant websites are at least somewhat capable of preventing online purchases of counterfeit merchandise.

While the vast majority of smartphone owners (86%) believe a manufacturer has a responsibility to ensure retailers claiming to sell its products are selling “the real thing,” we find that many brand owners feel that consumers should know the age-old saying ‘if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

However, this ‘buyer beware’ mentality leaves the consumer exposed unknowingly and in turn, can erode their trust in the brand. Without consumer education programs in place, consumers have little knowledge of what to look for in a legitimate website, or just how real this problem is.

Take for example the trusted marks of a genuine website, such as SSL certificates and verified symbols. Almost half of smartphone owners (48%) believe these are signs that an online retailer is genuine. What they don’t realize is just how easily these marks are duplicated and placed on fake websites – concealing the counterfeiter. With little to no effort, these symbols can be dragged and dropped from a real website to a fake one.

At the end of the day, brand owners need to keep consumers’ trust in order to stay in business. One way to do that is by taking a strong stance against counterfeiting. According to the same study, 88% of smartphone owners would have a better opinion of a brand they feel is taking steps to make sure their products are not counterfeited.

For more information on how brand owners and consumers alike can curb the issue of counterfeit websites and product, please click here

Research methodology:
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Document Security Systems, Inc. from January 2-8th, 2014 among 1,015 U.S. smartphone owners ages 18 and older. This online survey is 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 the DSS Corporate Office at 585-325-3610.