Fake Holograms a 3-D Crime Wave

The above article was written in 2007. We have copied a few revealing quotes below. Remember that the words were written over ten years ago. However bad things were then, they are very much worse now.

[Text in square brackets has been added by us to clarify or emphasize.]

Experts say the number of counterfeit holograms affixed to counterfeit merchandise has tripled in the past three years [2004-2007], as the technology to make them has spread.

Today, crafting a convincing duplicate of a security hologram has never been easier or more profitable.

"You can duplicate a hologram, and the duplicate becomes a master you can use for production" says Jeff Allen, one of the pioneers of holography.

"Now fake holograms are turning up everywhere" says Courtney Martin, who is the investigations coordinator for the Idaho-based Trademark Management Inc.

"For a trained eye, it used to be easier to tell a fake, but the counterfeits are getting so much better" Courtney Martin says.

"Holograms were never a great security device." Allen says, "People put a lot of comfort and faith in it, but it's really the emperor's new clothes."

The biggest problem, Allen and others say, is that almost anyone can get a hologram printing machine now, often for less than $10,000 [in 2007], or simply order duplicates of a master hologram from dozens of hologram-making companies throughout the world.

"Now that there are machines everywhere, I expect there are lots of counterfeit holograms – either going out the back door of the legitimate manufacturer or just copied.", Allen says.

What really defeats the idea that holograms provide security is simply that few people have expertise and equipment to study them closely, and most consumers can't tell the difference between a reasonable counterfeit and the authentic item.

"Shiny does not a hologram make," Martin says. "For a trained eye, it used to be easy to tell a fake, but the counterfeits [in 2007] are getting far better than they used to be.

The covert features aren't detectable by the human eye, so unless people are carrying equipment when they buy, they have to trust their eyes."