The Problem with Fakes: #
Counterfeits have long plagued our industry. Did you know that even sophisticated holograms can be copied and made to look convincingly real? Have you ever scanned a QR code on a product that takes you to some website that shows a shiny green checkmark that claims your product is authentic?
Fake products are incredibly easy to produce, as are fake websites! With the help of professional label printers-for-hire, fakers can deliver a 99.99% copy easily and en masse - the only exception being the actual product (active ingredient).
When you purchase a fake product, odds are you will likely have an unfavorable experience:
Average case (common)Ingredients are diluted or substituted (chopped), and strict aseptic (clean) protocols are sketchy at best, are allowing for extreme low-cost production. If counterfeiters had legitimate product, they would not waste time promoting our brand! These products are typically fenced by people who aren't the counterfeiters themselves ("I got it from a guy").
Worst case (uncommon, but POSSIBLE!)A competitor wants to damage the reputation of another brand. They will add some un-sterile oil to a vial, slap a good company's label on it, and sell it off. Shortly thereafter, chaos ensues as victims report infected abscesses, hospitalizations, and permanent souvenir scars from surgery.
To protect customers, IA Superpharma employs a service that works a bit like software licensing.
The Validation Process: #
Step 1: Identifier Assignment
Each vial, pouch, and bottle we produce receives a unique, complex, & random identification number. If you order ten bottles of Test-E 250, each bottle we send you will have a different code.
We generate thousands of codes each year.
Step 2: Identifier RegistrationThese unique identification numbers are registered into a database.
Step 3: QR Code GenerationThe identification number, along with some other information is then encoded into a QR code that is printed on the product.
Step 4: Customer scans QR CodeWhen the customer scans the QR code, they are taken to our validation website. The identification number is included in the website address.
Step 5: Validation Occurs
When the website loads on your phone:
- you will see info about your product's code, & most importantly the number of times anyone has scanned the QR code on your product.
- the website will "call home" to our validation service to increase the QR scan count by one.
IS IT REAL? HOW TO TELL: #
Did you buy it from us?If you bought it directly from this website, you don't have much to worry about. MI6 and the CIA aren't conspiring to open your parcel to replace it with their meticulously crafted counterfeit. If you bought it from "some guy who swears it's _______", this process is for you.
Using your phone camera or QR scanner app, scan the QR code on your product. Your phone should prompt to open a web browser. On the site that loads, look for something called SCAN COUNT. This should be 0 if you've never scanned the code before. In RARE cases, the scan count will be 1. Our staff perform QA from time to time, and don't want to waste labels. A counterfeiter attempting to copy one of our real codes will put the same code on all of their products, so the scan count will be obviously high.
...the scan count will also be high if you scan your code a bunch of times, or hit the "refresh" button in your browser over and over. So long as it's YOU increasing your own scan count, there's nothing to worry about.
Check the URL (Web Address)
All of our QR codes link to a server at
Counterfeiters will register domain names very similar to this in order to host their own fake green check sites, which will obviously say "yes, genuine!" Don't fall for it!
Examples of what to avoid:
Check our Wall of Shame PageWe decided to start cataloging fake sellers and product photos on our Wall of Shame page. Hopefully your product isn't on there! (COMING SOON)
Couldn't counterfeiters make their own fake QR codes?They could yes, but these codes would not be registered in the validation system. Remember, these codes are random, not in order, and very complex. Chances of them guessing a valid unused code are approximately zero // computationally impractical. They COULD, however, make an entirely fake validation website, hence the importance of checking the web address when you scan the QR code.
What if there is no QR code on my product?Our go-live for product validation on the INTERNATIONAL site was Q4 2020, so if you're buying in 2021 and onward: if it doesn't have a QR code, it AIN'T FROM US!
How does this work with Stealth shipping?QR codes on stealth packaging can be found UNDER the stealth label. Don't worry it won't be visible from the outside!