A new report highlights the “huge” threat of e-commerce counterfeiting during the coronavirus crisis, driving demand for more investment in security devices, says a global trade body.

According to the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) the report confirms concerns about e-commerce-based business as being ripe for exploitation during the pandemic by unscrupulous counterfeiters looking to trade in fake goods.

Counterfeit goods sold online can threaten consumer lives as well as damage corporate reputations and investment in companies and their products, research indicates.

The IHMA, whose members supply authentication and security holographic technologies to markets around the world, says the report’s findings must act as a wake-up call to consumer goods manufacturers to step up the implementation of anti-counterfeiting measures to protect brands as part of their investment in packaging strategies alongside e-commerce platforms.

The news comes as a study by a community media platform revealed that 20% 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.

In the USA, almost 70% of consumers have expressed worries about COVID-19 driving online sales in counterfeit or sub-standard quality products.  

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.

“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,” Dr Paul Dunn, IHMA chair, said.

“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 use of well-designed and properly deployed authentication solutions, as advocated by the ISO12931 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 a carefully thought-out authentication solution.

– Press release by IHMA

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