counterfeit ration cards

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.

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.

seized fake products

EU customs officials confiscate worth 31 million euros of fake products

According to a recent report by the European Commission, EU (European Union) customs officials have seized fake products worth over 31 million euros. The products have a street value of over 580 million euros.

The fake items seized by the officials include food items which were 24 % followed by toys 11%, cigarettes 9 % and clothing 7 %.

Europe’s Commissioner for Taxation and customs said that the EU customs union is at the forefront when it comes to protecting people from duplication. He further emphasized that their campaign will protect consumer health and business from any kind of violations.

Around 65% of the confiscated goods came in the EU through sea routes and around 14 % arrived through air cargo. Counterfeit items which came through postal and courier services were 11 % which included shoes, bags, clothes and watches.

Turkey was the largest provider of fake clothing and was the worst offender. China and Hong Kong were top suppliers of fake phones, accessories, printer inks and CD/DVDs. India was the largest provider of harmful pharmaceutical products.


The use of RFID technology in anti-counterfeiting

Every year, industries lose millions of dollars due to counterfeiting. Due to the growing threat of duplication, companies whether big or small have incorporated different kinds of anti-counterfeiting technologies with their products. The anti-duplication technologies include security holograms, security labels, track and trace, barcodes, QR codes, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), blockchain, artificial intelligence etc.

Out of the above-mentioned technologies RFID has become quite popular and is being currently used in different industries to secure not just products but entire supply chains. RFID basically includes the use of a microchip containing a unique information. This unique information is used for the authentication process and secures the product from any kind of duplication.

RFID has been successfully amalgamated with track and trace technology and is working wonders in battling duplication the across the world. According to a report by Strategy MRC, “RFID technology is used extensively in the packaging industry that includes tags, readers, and software services. Moreover, RFID technology is growing tremendously and is opted by many industries as it reduces manual costs and improves visibility and planning.”

What is RFID?

RFID which stands for radio frequency identification is a technology in which an encoded data is embedded in an RFID tag or a high-tech label. The encoded data is captured by a reader via radio waves. RFID system consists of three parts which includes a RFID tag, an antenna and a RFID reader.

The RFID tag or smart label sends an encoded message through the antenna which is captured by the RFID reader. The reader converts the radio waves into useful data which is used by a computer system. The computer system then creates a database which can be further used according to the requirements of an organization.

RFID tags can be classified into two forms, the first one is known as active RFID tag while the second one is known as passive RFID tag. Unlike, active RFID tags which run on their own power source like a battery, passive RFID tags are powered by a RFID reader.

Advantages of RFID

Here are some factors due to which RFID technology has occupied a good market share in the anti-counterfeiting technology market.

1. RFID technology can collect information without the need for human resource.

2.RFID requires no line of sight for authentication and thus saves a lot of time.

3.Last but not the least, RFID systems are highly accurate.


By Ritesh Rupramka
Director, Production & IT

Counterfeit electrical cables electrocuting both life and money

According to media sources, the electrical products industry suffers a loss of $600 billion annually, due to counterfeiting. This is huge and worrisome at the same time. Electrical products include a wide variety of items. Some of the highest selling electrical products include electric switches, electric wires and cables, electric lights, plugs, fuse, condensers, motors, fans and a long list of other items.

Out of the above-mentioned products electric cables are widely used in our daily lives and are highly susceptible to counterfeiting. Counterfeit cables have made it to headlines countless number of times for all wrong reasons be it monstrous fires caused due to poor quality cables or electrical shocks that kills us in instants. Counterfeit electrical cables occupy second place after fake pharmaceutical products. According to Technavio research, the global power cable market is projected to reach USD 107.5 billion by 2021.

Is there a way through which you can save yourself from being duped by duplicate cables? But, before that let’s understand what is a duplicate cable? Electrical product experts say that most of the counterfeit cables are sold by showcasing them as original. This simply means the specifications mentioned on the product do not sync with the product at all.

The maximum use of electric cables is at the time of construction when big bundles or spools of cables are purchased for laying out electrical connections across the building. Most of the people who are not aware of the distinction between a counterfeit and original electric cable may find it hard to differentiate between the two.

Identifying a counterfeit cable is not easy and may require an eagle’s eye. Counterfeit cables often come in poor packaging, have poor quality of casing with cheap quality of printing which is difficult to read. Reputed manufacturers will always print the specification of the label according to the contents of the package whereas, counterfeit cables will always show discrepancies. Always check the required ISI markings and security holograms on the product. The absence of these could be a giveaway of a counterfeit product. Also, abstain from bulk buying and it’s better to purchase and test a limited quantity. Showing it to a professional technician will also work wonders.

Nowadays, it has become difficult to counter duplication of products as it can be done at any stage of the supply chain. So, it’s better to use products affixed with security features like holograms, barcodes, QR codes, track and trace functionality etc. One such company which secures products of different industries against counterfeiting is Holostik. The company offers a range of niche anti-counterfeiting solutions for the electronic and electrical industry. So, if you are manufacturer from the electrical industry always make it sure to safeguard your products with a range of solutions offered by Holostik and if you are a consumer better buy products affixed with security holograms and markings.

New report on global pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting technologies

A new report on global pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting technologies has been released which covers many aspects like forecast, status, market size and trends. The report also mentions the complete information about market players, growth scenarios and the prominent market drivers. The report is segmented according to markets, types, regions and applications.

Anti-duplication technology plays an important role in the identification of counterfeit drugs. Duplicate drugs may include spurious ingredients or adulterants in wrong proportions. Duplication can take place in both generic and branded products. It’s well known that fake drugs pose serious health risks and may lead to imminent or long-term effects. Global pharmaceutical anti-duplication solutions are being used widely as Governments world over have become serious to stop counterfeiting of medicines. Technological advancements in anti-counterfeiting technology will further boost the pharmaceutical market.

The main reasons for the rise of counterfeit drugs are lack of awareness, poor monitoring of supply chains and weak regulations. Developed countries like the USA have implemented RFID (radio-frequency identification) while the European countries believe in the 2D barcodes. The developing nations like India are sensitized about the extent of the problem and have formulated rules mandating barcodes. Even the pharmaceutical companies have got serious and are employing Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting Technologies in order to eliminate the illegitimate drugs in their supply chain.

While most American companies have implemented RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) their European counterparts still rely on barcodes. Developing countries have assessed the criticality of the situation and have laid down rules related to the same. Pharmaceutical companies in India are implementing different anti-counterfeiting technology to battle duplication.


How to spot counterfeit whisky?

According to media reports, imported liquor has witnessed a rise of 20 % annually. This has led to the counterfeiting of liquor on a large scale across the country. Liquor counterfeiters are easily selling adulterated bottles of liquor at different locations in the country. They have also resorted to filling empty bottles of expensive wines and whisky with IMFL (Indian Manufactured Foreign Liquor).

Fake whisky is troublesome for whisky aficionados and manufacturers. It dupes the consumer since its overpriced, ruins their health and damages the brand image of the liquor manufacturers. However, there are certain ways through which you can identify the genuineness of whisky. Let’s discuss some of them.

1.Always try to do a strip search: Forgers usually try to place a tax strip from an old wine bottle to cover up a refill. Always try to feel around the neck for sticky patches which could indicate the presence of an original strip.

2.Fill level could be a big giveaway: The condition of the whisky can be ascertained by the fill level. Some whisky bottles are just filled to the shoulder. It is also a fact that the air space in the bottle can increase with time. Always be suspicious of old whisky bottles with high fill levels.

3.Check the label with a magnifying glass: A home-printed label or packaging will show pixelation when viewed from a magnifying glass. This is an obvious red flag for the product to be a fake.

4.Go through the minute content information: Yes, wrong spellings could be a big sign of fake or counterfeits. Grammatical mistakes, misplaced words or even a faulty punctuation are red signs. Obviously, counterfeiters are not language experts.

5.Look for sediments in the bottle: Old vintage whisky will always have a layer of the sediment at the bottom, particularly those matured in casks. If there is an absence of sediment, then it could be a sign of a counterfeit.

6.Crosscheck attributes of the cap and neck: Try to match the colour, material, ridges and material of the cap with original website. Also, check that the seal or base ring of the cap has been broken or not.

7.Beading check: You can check the whisky by shaking the bottle which will form a ring of bubbles on the top know as beading. The bubble ring or beading formed in the whisky bottle with 30-40 % of alcohol will disappear immediately after few seconds whereas a bottle with alcohol content of 50% will form a beading which would persist even after 20-30 seconds. This can be further cross-checked with the label for any discrepancies.

8.Look closely at the labels: Older labels are easily removed and glued to another bottle. Feel along the edges of the label for recently applied adhesives. Pay special attention to chips in the label. On a vintage bottle, a chip won’t leave any glue residue. Labels can be easily removed and applied on a new bottle. Try to feel the edges of the label for the presence of or any trail of adhesives. Irregularities in the pasting of labels are one big sign of a counterfeit whisky bottle.

The above discussed points are quite useful in determining the genuineness of whiskey. However, what should be done in case of other liquor products? The problem of counterfeiting has enveloped a vast share of liquor sector and many liquor brands are using anti-counterfeiting solutions to fight the menace. Holostik is one of the companies which provides cutting-edge anti-counterfeiting solutions to the liquor industry. These products and solutions have time and again helped the liquor industry to counter duplication successfully.


Counterfeit sites

Counterfeit sites are on the prowl- What you must do?

What would the world have looked like if internet never existed? ‘Sluggish’ is one word which comes to our mind along with a host of other downsides. Ranked at the pinnacle of inventions of the 20th century Internet has blessed us with many revolutionary ideas. However, with the passage of time Internet has become a dangerous place. Scams, fake identities, illegal arms business, drug trade, human trafficking and other criminal activities are being managed at the click of a button. There are rising reports of fraudulent activities and amidst this scenario, you must resort to safe browsing. Here is how you can manage it and stay safe from counterfeit websites.

Check the URL: One of the best ways to determine the legitimacy of a website is by checking its URL. Fake websites will visually try to look authentic, but they cannot have the same URL. Generally, they will have a spelling error in the URL, try to spot it.

‘S’ in HTTPS means safe and secure: E-commerce, finance and banking websites are required to have HTTPS protocol. They need to have ‘S’ which stands for secure. Even an authentic website which gives it a miss can easily get hacked, therefore, it is better to look out for the ‘S’ in the URL for a safe transaction. Secure websites will generally have a lock and HTTPS symbol.

 Genuine software will help: Always rely on reliable browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Edge. These browsers have built-in features that will inform you when you are about to visit a fake website. Moreover, antivirus software has extensions for browser that will tell you the authenticity of the website.

Read through the website: If you are interested in buying a product from a website, then it is better to go through its sections. Incorrect English is one of the biggest giveaways of a scam site. Besides, a blank Contact Us page also hints towards a dubious website. Google search ranking also determines the genuineness of a website. Fraud websites will usually have a lower ranking and will not appear on top of the search page compared to an original website.

Check the advertisements: Genuine websites will usually not have a bombardment of ads and popups if such is the case then the website is a scam.

You can use WHO.IS listing: If you want to dig deep down to determine a website’s authenticity, then you can certainly use to determine the website’s owner along with the registered address.

Stay safe against duplicates

The problem of counterfeiting or duplication has become ubiquitous. From, millennials to old folks the menace of fake or duplicate products has crept into everybody’s life. Whether its something as simple as a toothpaste or something highly sophisticated as an electronic component used by military counterfeiting has plummeted business growth, tarnished brand image, jeopardized national security and ruined public health. According to Global Brand Counterfeiting Report 2018, “The total amount of counterfeiting globally has reached to 1.2 Trillion USD in 2017 and is bound to reach 1.82 Trillion USD by the year 2020”.

The figures are quite dismaying and reflect a grave problem which is on the rise. Besides many factors, lack of awareness among consumers is a big reason responsible for the growth of counterfeiting. It is quite challenging to stop a consumer who deliberately buys a counterfeit but an innocent consumer who is not aware of the menace can be warded off if he is made aware of some basic points. No doubt, remaining vigilant and staying updated are the best measures to counter duplication. If you are aware of the following seven red flags or signs, then you can prevent yourself from being duped by a counterfeit or a fake product, to a large extent.

1.Unbelievable discounts: For many, it may be quite tempting, but the lure of unrealistic discounts offered online can be no more than a bait. You must assess how much discount is typically available on the branded products. If the discounted price is hard to believe for example 75-85 % of the MRP then the product you are buying has high chances of being a counterfeit.

2.Poor packaging: No brand will ever compromise with packaging. Credible and recognized businesses always spend a considerable amount of money on packaging. If the packaging does not fit properly with the product, is made of cheap raw material or is improperly applied then these could be red flags of a counterfeit product. Similarly, if the product comes without packaging then it also falls in the domain of a duplicate.

3.Mistakes in grammar: Have you ever seen products with brand names such as Adibas, Dolce & Banana, Red Labial or Calein Klvin? Well, these incorrect spellings of some of the most popular brands have become a butt of jokes on social media. Such brand names often attract those customers who are illiterate or are just concerned with the looks of the product. Make it a habit to check the spelling and grammatical mistakes mentioned on the product labels. You can also match the same with the official website of the brand.

 4.Online authenticity: Nowadays, online shopping is bearing the brunt of counterfeiting. If you want to guard yourself against a fake product online, then you must always go for a website with ‘https’ and a lock symbol instead of ‘http’. In addition, you can check the authenticity of a website through the following links: and

5.Substandard quality: No wonder, poor quality of a product is a big turnoff and at the same time, it is a sign of a counterfeit. Dull and poor quality of the cloth fabric, fake leather and shabby looking plastic or metallic elements are never used in a branded product. If you have been already using a product of a specific brand for a long time, then you can easily spot a fake.

6.Check the codes, model number, logos etc.: A company prints codes, model numbers, trademark, patent information, logos and many other minute details. A counterfeit will often miss out some of the information while copying. You can easily cross-check such information from the company’s website or the customer care department. As far as logos are concerned they can also be verified with the company’s or brand’s website. A closer introspection will work wonders in identifying a duplicate product.

7.Check the contact details and accessories: Manufacturer’s always print the physical address, phone number, e-mail and other such contact details on the packaging of the product or on the labels. If it’s missing, then it should be a cause of concern and a sign of a possible counterfeit. Also ensure that the product has all the supplementary parts, instruction guide, and accessories mentioned on the package. If anything is missing it may hint towards a counterfeit product. While buying a product from a store open the box and check it properly whereas in case of an online purchase make a video recording of unboxing while receiving the delivery which will serve as proof.

By Ankit Gupta 
Group Director, Holostik Group

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are personal and does not guarantee that each of the points, red flags or methods to determine a counterfeit is completely accurate and may or may not work with different products.