Consumer Alert: Fake stamps for sale! If you buy them, kiss your cash goodbye.
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Are you mailing holiday cards this year? Keep reading. We’ve uncovered more crucial information following Monday’s Consumer Alert. I’ve been emailing the US Inspector General in Buffalo and fake stamps are a huge problem in this country. The sites I’ve uncovered are just the tip of the iceberg.
One of our viewers saw an ad on Facebook for this site "uustamps.com". Note the web address has a repetition of the letter u. Scam sites often look legitimate. The web address is usually just off by a letter or two. The site even has the United States Post Office logo at the top of the page. And this is key. It’s selling stamps at less than face value. So I did some research on the domain name and discovered the folks who registered this site live in Hunan, China.
Another suspicious site is "uspssts.com". Again, it has the postal service logo and is selling discounted stamps. And you guessed it. The folks who registered this site are in Guangdong, China.
I reached out to Raymond Williams. He’s the US Postal Inspector in Buffalo and investigates these cases. He told me, "The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is aware of an increase in suspected counterfeit stamps offered for sale with many being offered on online platforms… It is believed many of the counterfeit stamps are produced outside of the United States. We also want the public to know the postal service does not sell stamps below the value listed on the stamp.”
Selling fake stamps is a federal crime that can send you to prison for up to five years. And if you unwittingly buy fake stamps, kiss your cash goodbye, and your letter will likely be returned. The postal service has machines designed to spot the fakes.
But consumers aren’t the only losers when we buy fake stamps. The postal service is already hemorrhaging money, and I wanted to know how much is due to stamp fraud. Williams told me I have to file a written freedom of information request to get my answer. You can bet it’s no small amount.
If you need to buy stamps online, click here.
If you’ve fallen victim to one of those fake stamp sites, Williams recommends you contact the United States Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455 or at www.uspis.gov/report.