- The Washington Times - Monday, January 24, 2022

That “bargain” roll of postage stamps advertised on social media — $58 worth of postage for only $39 — can stick users with headaches, the U.S. Postal Service said Monday.

Use a counterfeit stamp and your letter will be confiscated and not reach its destination, the USPS said. 

“The Postal Service does not sell stamps below the value listed on the stamp,” a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the agency’s law enforcement arm, said via email.

Postal inspectors said they are “aware of an increase in suspected counterfeit stamps offered for sale with many being offered on online platforms and websites. It is believed many of the counterfeit stamps are produced outside of the United States, however.”

Social media and email ads for “discount postage” surged in December and have continued into the new year. Some ads and websites offer a variety of postage, including two-ounce rates for wedding invitations and similar mailings, at half the retail cost.

Many of the ads show up on Facebook offering the discount and using the USPS logo of a stylized eagle, as well as promising “free shipping.”

Facebook’s media relations team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The USPS, which sells stamps online at www.usps.com as well as at post offices and authorized agents, offers free standard delivery for online orders, but does charge a handling fee between $1.40 and $2 per order.

Jim McKean, a USPS public relations representative, told The Washington Times the agency “declines” to state how much revenue is lost to counterfeit postage each year.

Counterfeit stamps can be a curiosity item for stamp collectors who study fakes and forgeries, but cheating the USPS out of postal revenue hurts everyone, said Scott English, executive director of the American Philatelic Society in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

“Fraudulent stamps pass on a cost to legitimate buyers of stamps,” Mr. English said. “Counterfeit stamps increase the cost of stamps purchased by those of us who purchase valid stamps issued by the USPS.”

• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at mkellner@washingtontimes.com.

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