Personal Finance

Beware of fake postage stamps being sold online

The U.S. Postal Service says any items mailed with fake stamps are now subject to being thrown away.

Beware of fake postage stamps being sold online
Fake discounted stamps sold online.
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
SMS

In the digital age, counterfeit postage stamps are becoming a real problem.

Krista Folzenlogan, who owns the card and stationery shop Poeme in Cincinnati, said she recently bought a batch of phony stamps.

To the naked eye, it's nearly impossible to tell any difference.

Folzenlogan said she purchased the stamps from a website that was offering discount postage. However, she said she quickly learned that "a stamp is a tax, essentially, and you don't get a sale price on a tax."

As the problem grows, the U.S. Postal Service is fighting back against counterfeit postage, scanning mail to make sure stamps are legitimate. It says any items mailed with fake stamps are now subject to being thrown away.

Scammers are using QR codes to steal your information, FTC warns
Scammers are using QR codes to steal your information, FTC warns

Scammers are using QR codes to steal your information, FTC warns

These scammer codes can lead you to a spoof website designed to steal your information or install malware.

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Melanie McGovern, a representative with the Better Business Bureau, said high-tech printers are making the problem worse than ever.

"It's really important when you're buying stamps to use an authorized retailer," she said.

If you’re shopping online, McGovern says to make sure the website is legitimate.

Scammers often make spoofed versions of the USPS website, so she says to be careful when clicking links and check the URL carefully. Next, McGovern says, don't trust ads for $25% or 50% off stamps you see on social media. Post offices do not offer stamps for 25% off.

If the price seems too good to be true, McGovern says, "that's when you should be a little bit skeptical."

Folzenlogan says she now tells her customers to be suspicious of any stamps that are being offered for less than face value.

"What happens is people purchase them, thinking they are getting a good deal, and then all of your mail gets flagged and destroyed," she said.

If you are mailing out holiday cards or 100 expensive wedding invitations, she says that is no time to shop around for discount stamps.