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TOPIC: **"PASSES AND GIFT CERTIFICATES"**

**"PASSES AND GIFT CERTIFICATES"** 10 Mar 2004 15:06 #7690

  • jimor
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On March 3rd, "sals" wrote a topic titled: "PASSES AND GIFT CERTIFICATES" but a malfunction deleted her post as well as the replies to it. Here is my reply for whatever it is worth to any and all.

There is no realistic way to make common paper passes counterfeit-proof, aside from stamping them with a colored foil imprinter machine, available in ads in some self-employment magazines. Most anyone can duplicate convincingly most any other type of printing. Therefore there are really only two options open to you to make counterfeiting too expensive for the price of a normal ticket. One is to EMBOSS a paper with a custom-made hand embosser (or, countertop and power ones are available) which causes the paper to have raised (but not colored) areas that contain the message/logo that you want. The back of a paper pass could be previously imprinted with any message/boilerplate you want, but the pass would be invalid unless embossed, as stated on the pass. Many stationery supply catalogs carry small hand embossers complete with one embossing die for about $20 and this would be a small investment in anti-counterfeiting. Use the search term 'embosser' at www.google.com to get hundreds of sources.

Professional hard-metal embossers such as used by notaries are made by such as the Schwaab Stamp & Seal here in Milwaukee for over a hundred years; contact them at: (414) 771-4150. There are many types available, and the embossing dies can be most any size with any text or design you like. Ask them about their library of art cuts that they may be willing to use in the embosser without additional cost to you; they might have something like the masks of comedy/drama (or reels of film, or a projector) often used in our field, and such would be much more difficult to have duplicated in an embosser, since small catalog outlets can make only text for your embosser, which IS possible to duplicate. Often they will agree to put an ornamental border around your text at no extra cost. Remember that the impression can be of any shape, not just rectangular. If you have a logo for your business, you might incorporate that and make the embosser useable on other documents, by sending them a sketch or photocopy of it.

The only other practical method is to use a surface impossible to duplicate and for that you go to a store selling wall coverings and buy the last remaining roll of a DISCONTINUED pattern that is NOT self-adhesive, and then cut this into passes (a local quick print shop would probably do this for you), either printed on the back or not, as you wish, possibly using a rubber stamp or an embosser to imprint them. The wallpaper would be virtually impossible to reproduce for any reasonable cost, and if textured, it would be even more difficult to duplicate and your people would get to know it by its special feel. You could also staple or glue to the back of such a wallpaper slip, another slip of regular paper having the text you desire, as well as any signature(s) or serial numbers you feel are needed.

There are much more elaborate methods, such as using glossy PHOTO business cards (a photo of your cinema?) with the back stamped (make nice, cheap souvenirs --without the Pass stamping-- if you are proud of your place). You would have to emboss such cards when used as Passes/Certificates, since photo printers can duplicate the image. You could also use such as paneled cards, such as one of the styles from Leader Paper Products: http://www.leaderpaper.com/store/customer/product.php?productid=6843&cat=12&page=1
Or any of a number of other specialty papers, assuming that none of your patrons ever find out where you get the paper from. Best Wishes, Jim

Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: **"PASSES AND GIFT CERTIFICATES"** 11 Mar 2004 10:06 #7691

  • Mike
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And then there is the Colonial Theatre in beautiful Belfast, Maine. We print ...on card stock ....our gift certs. They are done at the local copy store. We rubber stamp in one color,,,,consecutive numbers (we: concession counter people) in advance. Then: we rubber stamp a decorative rubber stamp: chickens running down the road .... in red on the back. It does nopt take as long as it takes to write this. And it is counterfeit proof. We record all sales in a book.

Though I do like the "embosser" as very cool!

Anyone who is smart enough to counterfeit can come up with 10 easy ways to sneak into the movies.

Like: wait and ask (or keep a selection in your wallet from previous visits) for stubs as people come out, or pick one up off the floor, or send a friend in and get stubs from another friend, etc. etc. and then you walk in with others holding your corn and waving your stub. I did this for years (30 years ago!) when I lived in Boston and hardly ever paid for a movie. That's why I know what to look for.

Michael Hurley
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Michael Hurley
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Re: **"PASSES AND GIFT CERTIFICATES"** 12 Mar 2004 10:09 #7692

  • jimor
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I wrote about the anti-counterfeiting methods for PASSES AND GIFT CERTIFICATES because I knew a guy years ago who operated a cinema and gave out occasional passes. One day he finds DOZENS of people at his door with 'his' passes in hand demanding entry. He initially refused entry to all but two of them since he knew for sure that he had not authorized more than two in the past six months. Later that day he got a call from an attorney representing one of the pass holders threatening court action for refusal of legitimate passes. He tried to explain to the lawyer that the passes were fraudulent (counterfeit) but the attorney said that the burden of proof of that was on the theatre people. The guy goes to the attorney's office (he dreaded litigation) and they there compared the passes in question, and low and behold, there was not a noticeable difference short of a laboratory analysis, though some of the fake passes had a watermark visible only under very bright light. It was an offset printed pass about 4 inches square on a common colored paper which he rubber stamped in black on the back with the theatre's stamp. Turns out that the entire pass was photo duplicated, front and back, and only the most careful examination under bright light and magnification could disclose the difference to a trained observer. The guy's own lawyer advised him to honor the passes that now showed up, and to immediately begin using embossed ones to avoid the situation in future, since embossing can not be duplicated by a camera. While it is possible to duplicate an embossing by spending enough to have one's own embossing dies made up to duplicate someone else's, it is usually too expensive, especially for a pass with a 'date of final use' stamped on it and different colored papers used for different years.

There were yet hundreds more people who showed up with the passes over the coming months which he had to accept, after which time a notice he put in the box office window took effect disavowing any pass more than three months old. At that point, his new, embossed passes took effect. He never had a counterfeit pass, passed again. He learned years later that a guy who didn't like him had dreamed up the whole scheme to try to embarrass or bankrupt him, and distributed the passes to over a thousand people, only a few hundred of whom decided to use the passes. He found it too costly to try to sue the guy, since it was too difficult to prove that he was the guy who had mailed the passes with a bogus form letter advising that the passes were a new promotion by the theatre. Whether or not counterfeiting is possible is entirely a matter of enough time and money available to a determined individual, as the counterfeiting of currency has long proven. Pray that you never have a determined enemy (or competitor?). If I were an operator, I would use a special paper, embossed with a design logo of the theatre (not just text), PLUS date stamped in another color to avoid a headache years later. It is not that costly to be safe, and free of lawyers, not to mention duped, and therefore VERY unhappy patrons who may not come back. I was with another fellow who presented the LANDMARK theatre's micro-printed, 2x3-inch pass which was not acceptable on the day it was presented, and the guy threw the pass in the box office guy's face and stormed out. Thank goodness he isn't the kind to retaliate against the theatre he had driven ten miles to, and later throw a stink bomb, or something! But he did vow never to return there.
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: **"PASSES AND GIFT CERTIFICATES"** 12 Mar 2004 14:39 #7693

  • sals
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Boy, that is one large nightmare. I got my passes made on business cards and will stamp and number them, check them off as they redeem. I'm assuming there won't be that many passes given away, other than as favors.

Gift certificates as well, I'll have a custom stamp made and number the ones given out as well.

I'd hope to never make that kind of enemy!

Sally
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