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Among threats during the coronavirus crisis are e-commerce counterfeiting, driving demand for more investment in security devices, says a trade body, the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA). It says that the report by Fortune Business Insights confirms concerns about e-commerce-based business as being ripe for exploitation during the pandemic by counterfeiters looking to trade in fake goods.
As the IHMA points out, counterfeit goods sold online can threaten consumers’ lives besides damage corporate reputations and investment in companies and their products. The IHMA, whose members supply authentication and security holographic technologies, says the report must act as a wake-up call to consumer goods manufacturers to step up the use of anti-counterfeiting measures to protect brands as part of their investment in packaging strategies alongside e-commerce platforms.
Meanwhile a study by a community media platform suggested that 20 per cent of products sold on e-commerce are counterfeit. Also, Europol and EUIPO has issued recent warnings about counterfeit goods while the World Health Organisation, has raised concerns about the sale of fake medicines linked to coronavirus in developing countries in Africa and other parts of the world, where criminals are exploiting gaps in the market.
The IHMA advises brand owners and product manufacturers to be more proactive in tackling the threats, stepping up their plans for investment in advanced authentication and verification technologies to protect brands, profits and reputation. IHMA chair, Dr Paul Dunn, pictured, said: “This is important information as criminals are infiltrating global supply channels, deploying sophisticated online scams and counterfeiting measures to trick consumers and damage manufacturers during these difficult times for everyone. Furthermore, fake medicines and drugs can pose a real risk to people’s health and safety and endanger lives.
“Holograms can to be effective in the frontline fight against counterfeiters and fraudsters, protecting brands and profits. Those involved in the supply chain are reassured by their presence on products, recognising the security and financial benefits provided.”
The association adds that use of well-designed and properly deployed authentication solutions, as advocated by the international ISO 12931 standard, enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from fake products coming from counterfeiting hot spots in Asia and eastern Europe. Even those that carry a ‘fake’ authentication feature can be distinguished from the genuine item if that item carries carefully thought-out authentication, the IHMA adds.