Counterfeit Goods

Information and statistics about counterfeiting and the sale of counterfeit goods. Estimated losses from counterfeits, markets where fake goods are sold, and other piracy statistics are collected from criminal justice programs and public information sources.

Fake university degrees in India are reportedly being sold online that provide certificates, diplomas and degrees for sale. The fake credentials includes diplomas from accredited universities such as Bangalore University. In addition, there are fake diplomas and credentials from schools that do not exist.

Depending on how quickly the fake diplomas are needed, as well as the type of degree and strength of transcripts, the prices of the packages range from $80 to $1,035 (5,000 to 65,000 Indian Rupees).

On average, Bangalore University receives 20 degree verifying inquires per day. Out of those requests, between 1 to 3 percent of the degrees that are submitted for verification are found to be fakes.

Source:  “Fake degree scam: No sweat, you can get a varsity degree in 10 -days,” Economic Times, September 24, 2013.

Data from the National Police Agency in South Korea showed that there were 8,202 cases involving the counterfeiting of money in the country. The number of cases investigated by security agencies was a 225 percent increase from the 3,644 cases investigated in 2008.

The number of people arrested for counterfeiting banknotes in South Korea also increased during this time period. In 2008, police arrested 182 people for counterfeiting money crimes. In 2012, there were 265 suspects apprehended, a 145 percent increase.

Security experts state that the increase is caused to the economic slump that leads people to use high quality printers and scanners in an attempt to counterfeit money.

Source:  Yonhap, “Counterfeiting of banknotes more than double in 4 years,” GlobalPost, September 21, 2013.

Business leaders in Saudi Arabia state that statistics show that nearly 80 percent of retail stores in the country sell counterfeit goods to its customers. When surveying customers, the business industry found that 20 percent are using counterfeit products in their households.

25 percent of the medicines sold in local markets are counterfeit drugs.

Saudi Arabia losses an estimated $4 Billion a year to counterfeits.

Source:  Nadim Al Hamid, “Consumers warned not to buy counterfeit goods,” Arab News, September 21, 2013.

According to a study commissioned by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), 74 percent of consumers surveyed in a study stated that they first found a website offering pirated materials through a search engine.

58 percent of searches with keywords such as the movie’s title or names of television shows had links to online piracy sites, according to the report.

82 percent of search queries that brought a user to a website offering pirated materials was through Google search. This number is in direct contrast with a report released by Google last week. Google claims that just 16 percent of internet users find online piracy sites through a search engine.

Source:  Eriq Gardner, “Why Hollywood Is Suddenly Marveling Over Piracy Studies,” Hollywood Reporter, September 18, 2013.

327 million people around the world was searching for pirated content online, according to a study commissioned by NBCUniversial. The people accessing pirated content accounted for 14 billion page views on websites that were proving content without a licenses. The number of page views was 10 percent higher than the amount recorded in November 2011.

149 million users visited cyberlockers in January 2013, a decrease of 8 percent from November 2011.

Online piracy accounted for 24 percent of total Internet bandwidth in 2012, a 160 percent increase from 2010.

Source:  Richard Verrier, “Online piracy of entertainment content keeps soaring,” Los Angeles Times, Company Town, September 17, 2013.

Security officials estimate that up to 35 to 40 percent of all goods sold in markets in Dar es Sallam, Tanzania are counterfeit products.

Most of the fake goods originate from Asia, with China being the primary export of counterfeits to the country.

The counterfeit goods market from China has increased as legitimate trade between the two countries increases as well. The volume of trade increased from $688 Million in 2007 to $2.6 Billion in 2013.

China is the second largest investor in Tanzania and the third largest trading partner.

Source:  Sebastuab Nrubdijim “Influx of fake goods in Dar dismays Chinese companies,” September 17, 2013.

In 2012, Google disabled the AdSense accounts and prevented ads from being displayed on 46,000 websites that was providing pirated content.

However, Google also stated in the report “How Google Fights Piracy” that all major search engines such as Yahoo, Bing and Google only provides 16 percent of the traffic to bit-torrent and piracy sites like The Pirate Bay. Most of the websites that provides torrents, downloads and pirated materials receive their traffic through social media, word of mouth and other marketing methods.

Source:  “How Google Fights Piracy,” September 2013.

A study conducted for Ofcom indicated that nearly one in four downloads on the Internet in the United Kingdom involves a pirated material. The study covered the time period of May 2012 to May 2013.

Most of the illegally downloaded content in the UK is done by a small percentage of users. According to the study, 2 percent of  UK Internet users account fro almost 75 percent of online piracy. The most popular form of pirated content during the time period was movies, with 35 percent of the total number of movies viewed online was pirated.

The Internet users who were the most active illegal downloaders were also found to spend the more money for legal content. On average, users who pirate content spend $41.10 (£26) every three months of legal downloads. Internet users who do not commit piracy spent $25.32 (£16) on legal content every three months.

Source:  “Ofcom: Piracy accounts for one in four downloads,” BBC News, September 11, 2013.

A security investigator working in Peru explained to the Associated Press the process of making fake money that made Peru the number one producer of counterfeit US dollars.

In order to make counterfeit money, the counterfeiters use off the shelf software such as Corel Draw or Microsoft Office to design the dollar bill.  Using a process called photolithography and the etching of metal plates, the bills are offset printed onto bond paper.

The sheets of fake money are then lightly coated with a varnish and then individually hand cut. The security strip of the bill, which can be seen when a real $100 bill is held up to a light, is inserted into the fake bill using needles and glued with the use of a medical syringe.

The counterfeit bills then pass through a machine with rollers to give the bill a rough texture. Finally, the fake bills are sanded down with sandpaper.

To create a batch of $300,000 counterfeit notes usually takes about four to five days.

Security officials state that counterfeiters earn a profit of $20,000 for every $100,000 in counterfeit dollars they make, or 20 cents for each fake dollar created.

(Profits and income from illegal jobs.)

Only fake $100 are smuggled into the United States, with fake $10s and $20s bills being smuggled to neighboring Argentina and Venezuela. The bills are smuggled the same way that cocaine is smuggled, through the use of false-bottom suitcases and even rolled up and swallowed.

The United States Secret Service stated that the counterfeit dollars are easily passed into circulation at retail stores.

Source:  Associated Press, “In Peru, U.S. dollar counterfeiting “more profitable than cocaine”,” CBS News, September 5, 2013.

The Managing Director for British American Tobacco Uganda claims that over 20 percent of the cigarette market in Uganda is made up of counterfeit cigarettes packs.

Packs of cigarettes in Uganda are subject to a 42 percent excise tax.

The smuggling of tobacco products in Uganda is most active on the borders shared with South Sudan.

Source:  Joseph Kimbowa, “‘Counterfeits affecting BAT, tax revenues’,” Observer (Uganda), September 5, 2013.