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



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.