March 3, 2020 YPB Marketing

Coronavirus fears fuel global fakes

As the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak continues to rise, global counterfeiters are taking advantage of the worldwide panic – is your brand safe?

Coronavirus has only been around for a few months, but it has already disrupted the entire world. National health services are struggling to contain the outbreak, global supply chains have been interrupted causing billions of dollars in lost revenue, and people are scrambling to find ways to protect themselves from catching the deadly contagion.

Truth and authenticity are often pushed aside during times of great fear, and counterfeiters and scammers are ready to take advantage. In a rare move, Facebook announced it will remove posts, photos and videos that spread misinformation about coronavirus, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has labelled the spread of fake news on the outbreak as an “infodemic”.

Just as during the Ebola outbreak, unapproved and fake remedies and ‘miracle cures’ are being advertised across the Internet, and hackers are using the rush to buy them as an opportunity to steal consumers’ personal information, in many cases resulting in identity theft.

Masking authenticity
One of the most widely reported scams is the sale and distribution of fake face masks, usually counterfeit versions of the popular N95 variant made by 3M. People are stockpiling masks, or buying thousands at once to send to family and friends in parts of the world that have run out, which means supplies of the authentic product are dangerously low, and demand is higher than ever.

Chinese authorities have shut down over 80 shops on e-commerce platform Taobao, run by Alibaba, for selling counterfeit masks, and police found 100,000 fake masks during a raid of an underground factory in Shanghai in early February. With the virus showing no signs of slowing down, more fake sellers are likely to be popping up on e-commerce sites faster than they can be shut down.

With lives on the line, and the reputation of trusted products at risk, every brand must prioritise securing and tracking their supply chain. Health, environmental and economic crises are only going to increase in number and intensity in the years to come, and ensuring the authenticity of potentially life-saving products is too important to ignore.

YPB’s MotifMicro and T2 invisible tracer technologies are invisible to the human eye, and can even be scanned on a curved object like a face mask. The T2 forensic tracer, along with our MultiSec Thread technology, can even be integrated into polymers, yarn, plastic and ink and are virtually indestructible.

Each product embedded with one of our world-leading technologies has an individual code, and are ideal for high-speed production lines during periods of increased demand. Plus, customers can authenticate products at the point of sale, and using our Connect Platform brands can trigger engagement, providing information, such as vital health and safety tips, to customers.

Don’t let your brand be a victim of the next global crisis – contact YPB today to discuss your tailored anti-counterfeiting solution.