4 Tips For Running a Successful Counterfeiting Sting

Take out your wallets and take one last good look at your Benjamins because starting Tuesday, there will be a new and improved $100 bill circulating in the marketplace. The new bill is equipped with a number of additional security features, including a 3D ribbon strip lined with bells that turn into 100's when held at a certain angle, which makes it more difficult to create counterfeits. But don't panic: Although counterfeiting money may be off your radar now, there are plenty of other things you can try counterfeiting. Here are a few tips to get you started on your counterfeit scheme, inspired by counterfeiters around the world.

1. Think Outside the Box

Perhaps the most obvious thing to try to counterfeit is designer products, like handbags and clothing. But the market's already saturated with fake designer goods, so you'll need to be more creative.

Take, for example, this counterfeit ketchup operation from an abandoned warehouse in Dover, N.J., where officials discovered what appeared to be a crime scene with red splotches all over the floor and insects swarming everywhere but was actually just a collection of condiments and not carnage. While the ketchup itself was real, the Heinz Tomato Ketchup labels on the bottles were fake.

This was obviously a poorly executed scheme without a clear goal, but the lesson to be learned here is that you can counterfeit any product, whether or not you have a reason for doing it. You just need to think outside the box.

2. Know Your Audience

To have a successful counterfeit sting, you need to know who your audience is and how to cater to that audience. Take, for example, the Jack Daniels counterfeit called Johns Daphne. Jack and Johns are obviously not the same person, but it doesn't matter because after a few drinks, no one will know the difference. Here, the creator of Johns Daphne not only counterfeited the brand but even got away with a smaller bottle — only .72 liters compared to the normal one-liter bottle!

3. Pay Attention to Timing

Simply having a creative idea and knowing who your audience is won't guarantee you a successful sting. They say timing is everything, and they're right.

A couple of years ago, a restaurant opened in Beijing called Obama Fried Chicken and this commercial was subsequently released appropriately advertising the new chicken shack. 

This campaign was strategically timed because it was released while President Obama was preparing to run for reelection, so whether you wanted to consume an Obama-endorsed food or see an oversized sandwich dropped on his head, you had an interest in checking out Obama Fried Chicken.

4. Do NOT Fake Your Own Death

Engaging in a counterfeit sting is a pretty open and flexible process, but anecdotal evidence shows there are certain things you should never ever try, like faking your own death.

Back in August of this year, China experienced a record-breaking heat wave that killed dozens of people. One man, however, was actually brought back to life after experiencing the unbearable heat.

On August 3, 2013, a soft-drink street vendor in Wuhan, Hubei Province, faked his own death by lying on a gurney while his buddies carried him to authorities, claiming the poor man had been beaten by road workers and demanding tens of thousands of yuan in workers compensation. Unfortunately, the scheme backfired when all of a sudden, the "dead" man jumped up, chugged a bottle of water, and said, "It's too hot. I can't bear it anymore." 

Do not fake your own death. It will backfire on you.

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Diana Chen

Chicago-based law student and entrepreneur. Citizen of the world. Always learning. Founder at LawStud.io.

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