Counterfeiters are uncovering new tactics to profit off unsuspecting businesses and consumers every day. It’s critical for brands to stay one step ahead to ensure these dubious activities don’t tarnish brand reputation and in some cases harm consumers. Through ongoing research we have found that counterfeiters are increasing using online trading platforms to sell everyday health and beauty products, which may not only be counterfeit, but can also be substandard, expired, or contain dangerous chemicals. In fact, reports of lead, urine, antifreeze and other toxic materials have been found in imitation perfumes.
We work with some of the world’s largest brands to help them fight counterfeiting through all channels of distribution, including online. Here are key Suspicious Behavior Indicators for brands to keep in mind when looking to spot dubious sellers and potentially harmful products early on.
- Ability to supply large quantities in a short timeframe: B2B trade boards provide a global e-commerce platform for sellers and buyers to distribute bulk products. If a seller is claiming to provide your product in overwhelming quantities, it’s time to investigate—and probably stop them.
- Product priced significantly below standard retail price: Consumers continue to aggressively compare prices – even for low-cost everyday items – when shopping online, creating a large demand for discounted health and beauty products on B2C trading platforms. This creates the perfect catalyst for sellers to offer brand name products at bargain prices. The way they can keep their margins up is to offer sub-par counterfeits.
- Items located within the Asia-Pacific region, but willing to ship worldwide: Over-production by authorized manufacturers (sometimes called “third shift production”), as well as out-and-out counterfeit production at other factories, do not have quality assurance. Too often, brand name items on large trade platforms offered in substantial quantity are counterfeit.
- Questionable packaging photo and/or packaging description: Sellers that claim to have manufacturing facilities with the ability to produce well-known, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) products are questionable. In these instances, sellers will showcase photographs that highlight familiar brand name products, but when inspected further, they may be offering to manufacture not only customized packaging but also customized products. In these arrangements, buyers can order any name brand product in mass quantities.
- Negative buyer feedback on B2C trading platforms: Top sellers that have questionable negative comments posted from buyers on the auction site, while still maintaining a high feedback rating overall, should be further investigated.