The United States Postal Service (USPS) has a new warning for consumers: counterfeit postage stamps.
The agency reported a surge in fake postage stamps across the country and explained that the surge is defrauding the USPS of funds.
“As the most trusted government agency in the nation, we will continue to work together with other law enforcement and government agencies to protect the sanctity of the mail,” said Gary Barksdale, chief postal inspector.
What does this mean for consumers?
In response to this increase in counterfeit postage, the USPS has filed a federal register notice to change the protocol in the Domestic Mail Manual. Under this new system, any package or letter containing fraudulent postage will be treated as “abandoned” – which means that the USPS has the right to open and dispose of any such items.
Consumers should be aware that even items ordered from online merchants can be sent out with counterfeit postage. This means that packages that are paid for and shipped may not reach their final delivery location.
Should consumers not receive packages they delivered due to counterfeit postage, the USPS encourages them to contact the company or seller. It is the sender's responsibility to handle any issues related to refunds or delivery.
“The mission of the Postal Service and the Postal Inspection Service is to ensure the safety, security, and integrity of the U.S. Mail,” the USPS said in its statement. “The implementation of these new regulations will continue to support and enhance this mission.”
What is counterfeit postage?
Recently, the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) instructed consumers on the ways of identifying counterfeit stamps. Some scammers target online shoppers, promising great sales for books of stamps.
The agency warns consumers that such discounts are typically not legitimate, and they should be sure to only purchase stamps from approved vendors.
However, counterfeit postage can also be affixed to packages or other items in the mail. Anything indicated on a package that the postage has been paid for – when it hasn’t – is considered to be counterfeit postage.