Counterfeiting During the Global Pandemic
A crisis like the current global pandemic is an ideal opportunity for counterfeiting organizations to come into play. These organizations have become very active in supplying counterfeit emergency materials needed during the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby adding to the woes of an unhappy world.
The confusion and urgency created by the pandemic provided counterfeit traders the perfect opportunity to get into an otherwise tightly regulated pharma industry. According to international organizations, a dramatic increase in illicit pharmaceuticals was reported in an already existing counterfeit industry, touted to be well over $4 billion. The international OECD body has declared that fake goods worth 13.6 billion Pounds were imported into the UK alone during 2020.
The message by the government to stay at home (to stay safe) further led to a seismic shift from offline to online shopping for many. It resulted in easy pickings for the counterfeit industry – as authenticating online vendors was complicated. With many people witnessing a cut in incomes, the ‘deals’ offered by these illicit sites became a magnet for people looking to make savings on their purchases. The result was a loss to the consumer and the brand, while the counterfeit criminals smiled all the way to the bank!
The Impact of Counterfeit Goods
The innocent consumer has become the victim of such counterfeit goods, thereby becoming vulnerable to considerable health risks. However, we are not ruling out counterfeiting in other industries such as clothes, leather goods, shoes, etc. Dealers in illicit trading are adept at quickly producing counterfeit products. So combined with factors like high demand and limited or no face-to-face contact, it is too good a deal to pass on.
The crucial point here is to protect legitimate global supply chains so these criminals cannot break into the system.
It’s difficult to impersonate a brand store on the streets but extremely easy when done online. The e-commerce sector relies heavily on third-party vendors, & these platforms actively seek them out to drive more website traffic to their platforms. Unknowingly, such platforms become facilitators for counterfeit traders as minimal verification is done on the vendors. USA and Canada have alone witnessed a 146% growth in online retail business during the first year of the pandemic, with illicit traders being a part of this growth too.
Making a Difference
While the pandemic has increased opportunities for counterfeit businesses to flourish, the long-term scenario appears more optimistic. The pandemic has forced authorities to reconsider the system and create long-lasting anti-counterfeiting solutions. These solutions include, ‘nearshoring’ (shortened supply chains), digitization, better verification processes, and the use of advanced technology to enhance protection and security against counterfeiters.
New possibilities for securing physical products from counterfeiters can be explored using innovative technologies involving crypto signatures on smart product packaging. All you need to do is- scan the packaging using a phone to authenticate the product using Ennoventure’s invisible anti-counterfeiting packaging technology.
Ennoventure is an innovative venture that provides digital anti-counterfeiting solutions for fool-proof brand authentication. To know more, visit: https://ennoventure.com/