All around the world, criminals work tirelessly to create fakes and counterfeits to sell to innocent customers who are completely unaware that what they are buying is not the real deal.
Now, the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) is getting behind a campaign led by the United Nations (UN) that aims to tackle the trade of counterfeit goods - a problem that amounts to a staggering $250 billion (£151.5 billion) per year in the US.
While the body believes the 'Counterfeit: Don't buy into organised crime' programme will help to raise awareness of the issue, it is using the opportunity to remind organisations of the importance of brand protection and authentication strategies.
No industry is exempt from the warning, with organised criminals targeting everything from electrical goods and vehicle parts, to baby formula and children's toys.
While some counterfeits may see a consumer part with hard-earned cash for little more than a faulty product they end up having to throw away, other fakes could prove extremely dangerous. For example, fraudulent medicines pose a very serious risk to consumers.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the sale of counterfeit medicines from East Asia and the Pacific to south-east Asia and Africa totals around $5 billion every single year.
IHMA general secretary Ian Lancaster outlines how it is difficult to put an exact figure on the problem, as a result of secondary repercussions for companies, such as loss of reputation and market share.
"The UNODC campaign is a sobering reminder that the war on counterfeiting continues unabated and reinforces once again the need to protect not only brands from the criminals but consumers who are at risk from products that do not comply with health and safety requirements," he said.
There are many ways that firms can look to safeguard their products and services from being targeted by such criminals - for example, by using holograms, coding and serialisation.
Here at Fine Cut, we understand a label is about more than explaining the contents of a product, machine or a container. It is about protecting your brand, your reputation and your company's livelihood, as well as safeguarding the best interests of your customers.
Give us a call today to find out more about how we could help.