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59% Of Consumers Feel It Has Become Harder To Spot Counterfeits In The Last 12 months

Illness, injury and fraud are among the ill effects experienced by 87% of consumers who have unintentionally bought a counterfeit product

Damaging consequences have been experienced by 87% of consumers who unintentionally bought a fake product in the last 12 months, according to a global survey conducted on behalf of OpSec Security. More than a third (34%) became a victim of fraud, while 27% said the product damaged other equipment, 22% experienced personal injury, and 21% became unwell, according to OpSec’s research.

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Encouragingly, ninety-five per cent of those who unintentionally bought a fake product in the last 12 months took some form of action, which is up 6% compared to the 12 months prior. The most popular form of action was to report it to the seller (41%), while 31% posted a negative review online, 30% posted a negative review on social media channels and 22% reported the incident to law enforcement. However, only 30% of unwitting consumers reported the incident to the brand directly, highlighting that there is still limited visibility of these incidents for brands, which can make it more difficult for organizations to monitor and ultimately shut down illegitimate operations.

It’s clear that purchasing counterfeit goods remains an issue for companies worldwide, with over a quarter of global consumers (26%) having unintentionally bought a product in the last 12 months that turned out to be fake. For almost a quarter (24%) of these individuals, it wasn’t the first time they had unintentionally bought a fake, with 36% accidentally buying more fakes this year than last. Of those who have unwittingly bought a fake product in the last 12 months, almost half (47%) bought 2-5 counterfeit products, while 42% bought just one.

Peter Waker, SVP and GM Authentication, OpSec Security comments, “Often, it is thought that the worst thing that can happen when buying a counterfeit product is that the quality isn’t as good as the real deal, but as we can see counterfeit products can have serious repercussions for both consumers and brands. While it’s positive that the majority of those who unintentionally bought a fake took action, the responsibility ultimately lies with brands to prevent their products from being counterfeited and ensure that consumers only receive authentic products.”
Almost three in five (59%) consumers feel it has become harder to spot counterfeits in the last 12 months – a figure that rises to 64% in the US where more than a third of people (34%) have been duped into purchasing fake products.

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Despite more consumers in the US having been fooled by counterfeiters, the research finds they are more cautious than their counterparts in the UK, with 59% saying they have become more skeptical and cautious when evaluating where and how they shop, compared to 49% of UK shoppers. This coincides with authentication having become more important to over half of consumers globally (56%) over the last 12 months.
Alessandra Vercelloni, Sales Director, Europe, OpSec Security says, “The threat of counterfeiting isn’t going to go away and it appears

distinguishing real products from the fakes is a growing problem for consumers. Brands should take heed of this and do more to help consumers verify the authenticity of their products. Brand protection solutions, ranging from simple authenticity identifiers like QR codes to unique serialized labels with overt and covert authentication features tied to online systems for product provenance and traceability, can help brands guarantee authenticity to their customers. In taking this approach, they will be able to protect consumers from counterfeits, while also protecting their brand’s reputation and revenue.”


OpSec Security is the global market leader in securing and protecting brands. After decades of leadership in brand protection technology, OpSec grew to become the leading provider of fully integrated brand and document security, providing companies and governments with myriad solutions to help our customers ensure brand quality, reputation, and integrity.

OpSec is a leading innovator in online brand and digital content protection, offering our clients end-to-end safeguards against counterfeiting, piracy, and unauthorized usage.

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