Can Printing Technology Prevent Counterfeiting?

In last week’s article here on FMS Blog, we discussed the new development made in the fight against the forgery of paper documents. A similar issue to forgery that appears in today’s world is counterfeiting. As of late, counterfeiting has become prevalent in the sale of high-profile event tickets in the music industry. However, event organisers are looking into new printing technology methods to try and stamp out this trend.


The Cost of Counterfeiting

Recent statistics suggest that almost 5 million people every year are sold counterfeit tickets for festivals, music concerts and other high profile event. Counterfeit scams are estimated to cost the music industry almost 4 million dollars/3 million pounds per month. Counterfeiting poses a serious threat to the overall economy and is a prosecutable by law in many countries should someone be caught attempting to re-sell or product counterfeit goods. In an attempt to reduce the losses made from this, many event organisers are teaming up with security companies to incorporate new printing technologies into event admission tickets.



A common security practice used in the online world to protect copyright, watermarking can also used on printed materials too. These will usually consist of special images or patterns that you can only see when light is shone either on or behind the paper. This technology started in the 13th century and was used in Italy to identify official documents from fake ones. Watermarking is also used on a lot of modern currency and proves to be an effective tool in preventing counterfeiting.


Bar Codes

You’ll find bar codes on many purchasable items in the present day. In the past, these were printed as several rows of parallel lines. More recent bar coding however, includes hidden geometric shapes. These strengthen the security and reliability behind this type of printing technology. Specialist hardware is used to decipher many bar codes, but recent advancements mean that smartphones are now able to scan bar codes too.

FMS Blog Barcode

UV Coating

A bit more complex to produce, using UV coated paper is another option in identifying counterfeit tickets. UV coated material will usually create images onto paper that are only viewable under UV light. You can only expose this using a UV lamp. It could pose as the strongest of the printing technologies currently in research, as replicating the image printed onto the ticket is difficult.


Scratch Off Protection

This printing technology involves enclosing a unique bar code or serial number underneath a ‘scratch off’ surface. The material used is a thin layer of latex. Counterfeiters would need to use special equipment to try and re-produce the exact numbering or coding contained underneath the material.


FMS Blog Scratchcard

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By using the above printing technologies when producing event tickets combined with heightened consumer vigilance and awareness, it’s hoped that this can help crack down on the production of reselling of counterfeits across the world in the years to come.



CBNC  – Making your summer concert plans? How not to get scammed


Sam Rose