Beware Online Counterfeit Holiday Postage Scams
BELLEFONTE, PA, November 24, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ -- As we approach the holiday season, the American Philatelic Society warns about online counterfeit postage stamp scams. Ads on Facebook, Instagram, and other online social media platforms advertise counterfeit U.S. postage to unsuspecting consumers as "discount holiday postage."
"Each year, millions of people send holiday cards to friends and family across the country. We encourage using this time of year to spread joy to everyone through the mail," said Scott English, Executive Director of the American Philatelic Society. "But don't let online grinches selling counterfeit postage ruin the holidays for you and your loved ones."
The online advertisements sell so-called U.S. postage at a discount of 50% or more from the current price of $0.66. The advertisements usually display holiday-themed stamps from Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa to entice buyers to use for their holiday mailings. Other common counterfeits include wedding and love-themed stamps or stamps bearing U.S. flags. Unfortunately, the stamps are almost always counterfeit and could put your mail at risk of being thrown out.
In early 2023, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced new regulations declaring that mail using counterfeit postage would be considered abandoned. The USPS can remove from circulation, open, or destroy any mail bearing counterfeit postage.
The discount sites also harvest personal information, like credit card numbers used by criminals to make illicit purchases. The advertisements and websites often use the USPS logo and images from the official first-day-of-issue ceremonies. The fake stamps look nearly indistinguishable from genuine U.S. postage stamps, and identifying counterfeit postage takes special equipment and years of training.
Counterfeit postage drives up postage costs for all consumers and threatens mail deliveries by unsuspecting purchasers. The easiest and surest way to protect yourself is by purchasing from trusted sources.
"We want to make sure your festive photos, annual family newsletter, and holiday cheer reach the right address," added English. "Before you buy your stamps for the holiday season, make sure you're getting the real thing."
Before you buy online:
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and its retailers never sell discount postage.
The current price for first-class Forever stamps is $0.66, with a rate increase to $0.68 on January 21, 2024.
Genuine Forever stamps are always valid first-class postage regardless of the price paid at the time of purchase - so buy as many as you'd like now.
You can buy online directly from the U.S. Postal Service at www.usps.com.
In a hurry? Purchase in person from a nearby post office or Approved Postal Provider™.
When you encounter counterfeit stamps:
Please report to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service via email at PostageFraudReporting@uspis.gov or visit the U.S. Postal Inspection Service website.
With members in more than 110 countries, the American Philatelic Society is the largest non-profit organization for stamp collectors in the world. Founded in 1886, the APS serves collectors, educators, postal historians and the general public by providing a wide variety of programs and services. Our members enjoy access to the one of the world's largest philatelic libraries, a monthly award-winning magazine and safe avenues for buying and selling philatelic materials. Learn more at stamps.org, or call 814-933-3803.
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