Fake products seized in Punjab in different raids

The food safety wing of Punjab government had busted a racket in Mansa which was involved in counterfeiting of various food items. The officials found fake ghee which was prepared from vegetable fats and other harmful materials. The fake ghee was sold under the name of popular brands like Amul, Verka and Milkfood.

KS Pannu, the Food Safety and Drug Commissioner told that the racket was busted after some raids on a residential area. Pannu said that besides ghee the counterfeiter was involved in preparing duplicates of popular brands like Tide detergent, Tata salt and Good day biscuits. The officials also recovered around 700 packets of fake Tata Tea Gold filled with cheap quality tea.

A large number of labels and packaging material was also recovered which indicates that the accused had a big network of production and marketing. The seized stock included wrappers, packets etc.

In a similar incident, a counterfeiter was caught in Sangrur who was packing and labelling rice bran oil as pure mustard oil.

Source: Tribune

Counterfeiting- a global pandemic

Counterfeiting is a global pandemic. The statement is a gospel truth – a reality which regularly haunts governments, businesses and consumers. No wonder, everyone is suffering from the menace of counterfeit products which is regularly confirmed by news and reports coming from different parts of the world. So, whether you buy a luxury handbag from a mall in Dubai or a costly sports watch from a store in Madrid or even something as simple as a pain-relieving pill from a pharmacy shop in India – the genuineness of each of the items lurks in uncertainty.

Counterfeiting has spread like a disease affecting every industry and rarely any product stands a chance against it. But, long ago, counterfeiting was just limited to currency. Some of the earliest reports of counterfeiting date back to 18th century when counterfeiters tried their best to copy currency coins and later switched to paper currency bills.

Many experts believe that rapid globalization is one of the reasons behind rampant counterfeiting. They claim that in a bid to increase profits corporate giants shifted their manufacturing facilities in countries with cheap land and labour. However, they did not realised that the countries did not had regulations and laws in place, to counter duplication. This loophole paved way for counterfeiting of original products. It was usually done with the help of employees or workers who sold the manufacturing process and technology to forgers. With the passage of time, as technology became accessible organized crime syndicates got involved into the business of counterfeiting on a much larger scale.

Since there were no stringent IP (Intellectual Property) regulations counterfeiters were able to sell them locally with ease and even smuggled them to other parts of the world. Gradually, cheap grade goods were welcomed by the masses, all over the world, as they were affordable and visually appealing – just like the original products. This dealt a severe blow to the profits and image of legitimate companies and brands. According to a report by OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) United States, Italy, France, Switzerland, Japan and Germany are the hardest hit countries, with the majority (83%) of fake goods originating (not surprisingly) from China and Hong Kong. European brands are among the most impacted, with an estimated 5% of all goods imported into the European Union (EU) being fake. This represents as much as $118 billion.

Another factor behind the growth of counterfeiting worldwide is the rise of free trade zones in different parts of the world. Free trade zones provide tax advantages and other exemptions which helps to boost the economy of the host country. However, it also leads to a rise in counterfeiting and piracy as there are little checks and easy transport facilities available in these zones.

Nowadays, counterfeiting has intruded the online marketplace. We regularly encounter spurious websites and social media links on the web which showcase alluring deals on different kinds of products. But do we really know how the product actually looks like? What is the credibility of the website? How to determine the genuineness of the online product? Despite the uncertainties, we fall into temptation and buy those products, without thinking about the repercussions. According to International Trademark Association, “Criminals prefer to sell counterfeits on the Internet for many reasons. They can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet with the Dark Web even their IP addresses can be hidden. The Internet gives them the reach to sell to consumers globally-outside of the national limits of law enforcement.”

Governments across the world are taking strict measures to curb the menace of counterfeiting. New regulations and laws are being implemented. International brands are spending millions on creating awareness about their counterfeited products. Most importantly, the anti-counterfeiting industry has witnessed a significant growth as more companies are using different kinds of anti-counterfeiting solutions to secure their products against duplication. Finally, the global problem of counterfeiting must be addressed on multiple fronts with collaborative efforts of the government, industry players and anti-counterfeiting solution providers.

shobhit gupta holostik

By Shobhit Gupta
Group Director, Holostik Group

Flipkart launches ‘Open Box Delivery Delight’ to stop the delivery of fake products

The big billion days 2018 sale by Flipkart commenced on 10th October and lasted for few days until 14th of October. Consumers were able to buy a wide range of products including electronics, appliances, fashion and much more at slashed prices. The prominent e-commerce player is taking different steps to impress its consumers. Besides this, the company has also taken a specific measure so that consumers don’t receive counterfeit products. For the same, it has launched ‘Open Box Delivery Delight’ in which customers can check for missing accessories or any other defects at the time of delivery.

Under this option, the delivery person will open the box at the time of delivery. The consumer needs to check the received goods for any physical damage or missing part. In case of an issue, the replacement or refund is initiated immediately.

The service was available at select locations for electronic products like televisions, refrigerators, microwaves, washing machines.  Last year Flipkart has launched the service for washing machines and televisions.

In order to avail the service, the customer had to comply with certain terms and conditions. To purchase a product a customer had to add the product in his cart and then click the buy now option. Then the customer had to fill his delivery address and select the delivery here option. If the customer is interested in the ‘open box deliver’ he can select it further. After this, the customer had to fulfil the payment formalities.

The customer then receives the intimation that his or her product is out for delivery. The consumer must also be present at the time of delivery with a valid ID proof. If it’s a cash on delivery the customer needs to pay the delivery person with the required amount.

After the payment is done, the delivery executive will open the package right in front of the customer. Once the customer has examined the product for damages or missing parts, he can then validate the delivered product and sign the delivery receipt.

After the payment, the delivery person will open the package in front of the customer. Once the customer examines the product he can sign the delivery receipt or initiate for replacement or refund in case of any issues.

Source: MySmart Price

Think twice before buying a fake- it could fund terrorism

It may sound strange but, the gruesome Charlie Hebdo terror attacks which claimed 17 lives in January 2015 were financed by selling counterfeit Nike sneakers. Back in 2004, Interpol seized worth US$1.2 million of fake brake pads which had links with Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah. Even the Madrid train bombing was funded by the sale of counterfeit CDs. There are many similar reports, from across the world which establish a direct link between counterfeiting and terrorism.

According to OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Deputy Secretary-General, Doug Frantz counterfeit goods are the largest contributor to the world’s underground economy.

There has been a close link between counterfeiting, organized crime and terrorism. While organized crime directly draws money from the sale of duplicate products, terrorism gets it funding indirectly mostly from notorious crime syndicates located in different parts of the world or directly operating on a micro level.

According to a report by EY (Ernst & Young), “Individuals who may not be involved in large-scale counterfeiting and piracy are engaging in small-scale counterfeiting of FMCG goods, software piracy etc. It is no coincidence that members of sleeper cells are involved in counterfeiting of such goods. This highlights the fact that such small level of counterfeiting and piracy activities are in line with the capabilities of small individual members who are self-financed and do not depend on funding from core terror networks.”

A different model which finances terrorist activities is based on monetary support from criminal organizations. The EY report states that a significant share of counterfeiting activities is under the control of criminal organizations who have indirect links with terrorists.

It has also been found in some cases that organized crime syndicates have transformed into terrorist organizations. Such crime syndicates have years of experience in selling fake products, smuggling, illegal arms dealing and illegal drug trade. With enough expertise, they do not take much time switching into a terrorist organization.

A few days back, Alastair Gray who is a popular counterfeit investigator gave an incredible speech on the link between counterfeiting and terrorism at a TEDx session. Here is an excerpt from his speech mentioned on tinyTed.com, “Counterfeiting is set to become a 2.3- trillion-dollar underground economy, and the damage that can be done with that kind of money, it’s really frightening because fakes fund terror. Fake trainers on the streets of Paris, fake cigarettes in West Africa, and pirate music CDs in the USA have all gone on to fund trips to training camps, bought weapons and ammunition, or the ingredients for explosives.”

He further points out, “Despite the evidence connecting terrorism and counterfeiting, we do go on buying them, increasing the demand to the point where there’s even a store in Turkey called “I Love Genuine Fakes.” And you have tourists posing with photographs, giving it five-star reviews. But would those same tourists have gone into a store called “I Love Genuine Fake Viagra Pills” or “I Genuinely Love Funding Terrorism”? I doubt it.”

Despite strong evidence against the link between fakes and terrorist activities little has been done to curb the same. We can still see counterfeits being sold on a large scale in different parts of the world which are growing every passing day. Spreading awareness regarding it and strict government measures can bring down counterfeiting and its direct or indirect role in funding terrorist networks.



CID officials bust fake sunglasses racket in Surat

CID (Criminal Investigation Department) officials recently raided a shop of sunglasses in Bhaga Talav area of Surat. The officials seized around 13,000 spectacles of a popular brand with a total value of Rs. 1.31 crores that were stocked in warehouses and shops.

Fake sunglasses have become rampant and one can easily find cheap copies of costly brands. This has affected the market of legitimate and popular sunglasses brands across the country.

The police raided an optical shop located at Pratikar Market in Bhaga Talav area of the city where police found a large stock of sunglasses. The police booked the accused under the copyright act and other offences. The CID crime team arrested the owners of the shop and handed over the accused involved in the business to the police.

A few months back police seized around 1000 sunglasses in Vadodara which were sold as Lacoste sunglasses. When technical experts checked the sunglasses, they found them as counterfeit. Each piece of the sunglass was valued at Rs 1000.

In the last few years, there has been a huge rise in counterfeit sunglasses and they can be found at different locations. Besides, duping the consumer fake sunglasses are harmful to the health. The impact can vary from dark circles to eye problem, as the material with which fake sunglasses are made is of low and cheap quality.

Source: TOI

Indian markets of counterfeit goods-destroying businesses and brands

One of the biggest reasons for the sale of counterfeit goods are their low prices compared to the original items. Whether it’s a designer bag or a diamond-studded watch one can easily buy their cheap replicas. Experts have revealed that the replicas of luxury goods are sold at 1/4th of the original price. Such counterfeit goods are sold at different markets situated in different cities of India and are quite a rage among shopping lovers. However, these markets are quite detrimental to the original brands and their outlets. Let’s know about the market locations popular for the sale of counterfeit goods.

Ghaffar market in Delhi

Delhi accounts for the sale of 75 % of counterfeit goods in India. We also did a blog earlier on the counterfeit good markets of Delhi. Although there are many big and small hubs for duplicate products in the capital, Ghaffar Market catches the attention of every counterfeit lover. You can find here cheap copies of brands like Gucci, Tiffany, Burberry quite easily. Apart from clothes the place also caters fake electronics, cosmetics and other items.

Brigade Road in Bangalore

The IT city of Bangalore has a range of counterfeit items at the Brigade Road market in Bangalore. You can specifically ask here for cheap copies of original products from the suppliers which are usually kept hidden due to the fear of government raids.

Linking Road and Heera Panna market in Mumbai

The tinsel town equally suffers from the menace of counterfeiting. Mumbai has different markets with all kinds of counterfeit products. Linking road is one of the most prominent locations popular for cheap replicas of renowned luxury brands like Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton etc. Another prominent location for counterfeit items is the Heera Panna market in Haji Ali, Mumbai. The place is a hub of first copy luxury watches. Besides watches, you can also find electronics, perfumes and shoes at this place.

Vardaan market and new market in Kolkata

The business hub of the east and once the seat of British monarchy Kolkata has sprawling markets which offer all kinds of items for young and old. Due to the craze for shopping, the middle-class Kolkatans have resorted to buying counterfeit items. This has given way to the establishment of a growing counterfeit industry which runs from different hubs in the city. Vardaan market is one such place where you can get the best copy of anything. Another popular destination for fake products is the new market where you can find replicas of luxurious products. It is better to accompany a person who has prior knowledge of such places so that you may not find it tough to bargain or assess the quality of products.

Tripura government identifies more than 60,000 counterfeit ration cards

Tripura’s Law Minister Mr Ratan Lal Nath recently revealed that the Tripura government has identified more than 60,000 counterfeit ration cards during digitization of PDS (Public Distribution System).

The e-government drive came into execution just after the BJP-IPFT came into power. This was meant to end corruption in government functioning.

Mr. Nath said that during digitization of PDS it was found that more than 60,000 ration cards were counterfeit. Besides these 2 lakh consumers on PDS were also found to be fake.

During the left front, government more than 9 lakh ration cards were registered with state food department but the current government found only around 8 lakh cards as genuine. The number of beneficiaries also came down significantly.  Nath commented that fake beneficiaries were busted in more than thirty security schemes which were operational.

Just after coming to power the Biplab Deb government announced to stop the process of including new people in the list of social security beneficiaries. Nath also said that more than 4.19 lakh beneficiaries were registered with the state government for social security pensions.

Source: Indian Express


How to determine if your mustard oil is genuine or fake?

Mustard oil or ‘sarson ka tel’ has been one of the favourite cooking oils in India. Of late, many other types of edible oils are also being used but, mustard oil is still consumed predominantly by a large population, that inhabits the rural India – particularly in the north. For years, our forefathers thrived on food cooked in pure mustard oil which was responsible for their great health. Time and again researches have proved that mustard oil has numerous health benefits that are hard to find in refined oils.

But, as expected just like other food items mustard oil is also being adulterated and sold as a counterfeit in markets. This leaves our health in jeopardy as the effects of consuming duplicate mustard oil can be fatal. The government of India has issued strict guidelines and there are specific laws to punish people who practice adulteration of food, though, little has been achieved to curb the same.

Recently, KS Pannu, Commissioner Food and Drug Administration Punjab said that unscrupulous dealers and manufacturers are using cheap palm oil, crude rice bran oil, crude soya bean oil, colours and chemicals as adulterants in mustard oil. Another toxic adulterant Argemone oil is also used which causes dropsy and has been the reason behind many deaths in the past. The spurious oil is packed in tins and packets bearing the branding of the original product which makes it difficult to differentiate between the fake and an original.

If you are buying mustard oil from the market, then you can perform some easy home tests to determine its genuineness. Let’s discuss some of them in detail.

1.Freezing test: Take some mustard oil in a cup or bowl. Keep it in the fridge for a few hours. If the oil is freezing and having white spots, then there is something added in it and it is a counterfeit.

2.Rubbing test: Take some oil in your palms and rub it properly. If it leaves any trace of colour and smells like a chemical, then it has been adulterated with spurious substances.

3.Nitric Acid test: Take a tablespoon of oil and mix it with 5 ml of nitric acid. If the mixture turns yellowish orange or crimson colour, then it has been mixed with Argemone oil.

4.Barometer test: Pure mustard oil gives a barometer reading of 58 to 60.5. If the reading is more than this then the oil is fake.

5.Acidified petroleum ether test: In one millilitre of mustard oil mix 10 ml of acidified petroleum ether. After two minutes add one drop of molybdate. If the solution turns muddy then it has been adulterated with castor oil.

With advances in anti-counterfeiting technology, brands are utilising anti-counterfeiting solutions for their products and edible oil industry is no exception. Holostik – a pioneer in anti-counterfeiting solutions has successfully catered different kinds of anti-duplication solutions to the edible oil industry, which falls under the FMCG sector. It has secured one of the prominent players Gokul Refoils and Solvent Limited (GRSL) with the cutting-edge anti-duplication solution. The move not just stopped duplication of its products but also increased its profits.

FICCI CASCADE organizes seminar on the problem of counterfeiting & smuggling

FICCI CASCADE the anti-smuggling and anti-counterfeiting arm of the industry body FICCI recently organized a seminar on ‘Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling, an Imperative to Accelerate Economic Development’ in the city of Bhopal.

Counterfeiting is a growing problem and can be effectively countered with appropriate policies said experts present at the seminar. The experts discussed the urgent need for awareness on the hazards of duplication and smuggling. They also raised concerns on the level of enforcement of anti-counterfeiting policies for the overall growth of the country.

Justice (retired) N.K Jain, Judge of MP High Court and Chairman, Madhya Pradesh State Consumer Redressal Commission praised and encouraged FICCI CASCADE’s dedication to eradicate smuggling and illicit trade in the country. Besides this, he also mentioned that a lot more is required to change the outlook of the common man with regard to the use of counterfeit and smuggled goods. Counterfeiting and smuggling of goods not just block the economic growth of a country but is equally detrimental to the health and society. He further commented on the need for strict regulations and effective implementation of the same to curtail the problem.

Anuradha Sharma, Additional Director General, Madhya Pradesh Police stated that counterfeiting and smuggling is an important issue and negatively impacts the health and safety of the common man. This has also led to tax and revenue losses of the industry. The issue is highly critical and needs a collaborative action from all stakeholders.

According to a report released by FICCI CASCADE in 2015, the overall loss to the government on account of illegal markets in seven manufacturing sectors is Rs 39,239 crores.

Source: Daily Pioneer

Your pair of Levis jeans could be a counterfeit-check for the red flags

A pair of Levis denim jeans enhances our style statement and provides optimum comfort. Considered one of the best denim jeans in the world, it has ruled our closets for a long time. Levis jeans is a product of Levis Strauss & Co. which received the patent in the year 1873. Surprisingly, back then, United States was going through industrial progress and jeans became favourite apparel of the working class due to its unmatched strength and cosiness. With time the scenario changed and Levis became the ultimate fashion choice of young and the old around the world.

However, numerous counterfeiters operating from little backyards and spurious factories have spoiled the Levis jeans market with production of its cheap copies. No wonder, the apparel industry suffers from counterfeiting and loses a huge amount of profits every year. A consumer not only loses his money after buying a fake he or she also loses his trust in the brand.

Here are some ways through which you can differentiate between fake and original Levis denim jeans and save yourself from getting duped.

1.Check the number behind the button

Authentic Levis jeans always come with a style number which is mentioned behind the tack or donut button- the main button of the jeans. Forgers always miss to copy such minute detail, a fake pair of Levis jeans will never have such minute details.

2.The labels with markings

Style symbols, this is for what brands are known for. Levis jeans have print markings on three different labels which come affixed with a new pair. One marking will be on the price tag, another one will be on the label tag attached on the right back pocket and the third one will be inside around the waist. Counterfeiters will always miss such details and will have only one or two labels. Many times, there will be no label at all.

3.Check the abbreviation on rivets

You will find LS&CO-SF mentioned on the rivets of an original Levis jeans. The abbreviation stands for Levi’s Strauss and Co. San Francisco. You may notice a mistake in spelling or a typo error in such kind of details, minutely observe for any kind of mistakes.

4.The label at the back

An original pair of jeans will always have worn out leather label at the back. Counterfeit jeans will always have a label made of synthetic material with usually dark printing.

5.Colour and alignment of text

The text mentioned on an authentic pair of Levis jeans will have proper alignment and is black in colour. This is not the case with a fake pair which will have misaligned or poorly printed text.

6.Red tabs

Red tabs are like visual certifications for an authentic pair of Levis jeans. Red tabs in an original pair of jeans will always be neatly stitched and cut whereas red tabs in a fake pair of jeans will be roughly stitched and cut. With a little attention, you can easily mark out the difference.