Download this report as an MP3 sound file.
The Case of the Bogus Bodega Stamps
The Stamp Collecting Report. I'm Lloyd de Vries.
Some letters are rejected by the Postal Service -- because the stamps on them are counterfeits.
"There are certain security features in many of the stamps, which leads them to be identified by our mail processing equipment."
But Postal Inspector Ralph Nardo, in New York, says modern computers make
counterfeiting fairly easy. Even he has trouble telling real stamps from fakes
without special equipment.
"There's four separate private companies that produce the stamps for the Postal
Service, so there are sometimes variations in legitimate stamps."
Most of the counterfeits are fake flag stamps. It's not just a problem in New
York, but there, Nardo has found a pattern.
"We find them mostly in the poorer neighborhoods, and, at this point, the
investigation has indicated a lot of the stamps are coming back to a local
grocery store or delicatessen."
They're also sometimes offered for sale on eBay.
The sellers might not know the stamps are fake. Even when Nardo and his team
bust a counterfeiter, bringing the case to trial can be difficult: A roll of a
hundred stamps is only 41 dollars.
"The dollar amount usually will indicate how much federal authorities will want
to pursue prosecution."
Inspector Nardo says your best bet is to buy your stamps directly from the Postal
Service -- at a post office, on its Web site or by phone -- but the Postal Service
is also encouraging the sales of stamps at banks and chain stores.
I'm Lloyd de Vries of The Virtual Stamp Club. For more on stamps and stamp collecting,
Go to Previous Report
Go to Next Report
Go to Report Index
Return to Virtual Stamp Club Home Page