Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Crafty Crooks Causing Spike In Counterfeit Stamps
Fakes Almost Too Good To Be True; Post Office Warns Public
NEW YORK — There is a new warning from the New York Post Office — check your stamps!
The post office says counterfeit stamps are on the rise.
So how can you tell the real ones from the phonies? The truth is it’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference.
The fakes are so good, who can tell the difference? Certainly not the people CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis spoke to on Tuesday.
“No. I can’t. I cannot unless you pointed it out to me,” one person said.
“Yeah its creative. It’s really creative,” another person said.
“Most people don’t look at stamps, really. They just see the stamp, put it on a letter, and mail it out,” a third person said.
Letters with phony stamps, found by the post office, are being marked return to sender.
Others, like the ones caught just this week, were addressed to, of all people, Santa.
“There’s no evidence at this point indicating Santa is a co-conspirator,” postal inspector David Boyle said.
Boyle said there are other culprits.
Crafty crooks are somehow printing nearly perfect fakes, selling them on the street, or to local bodegas for resale.
But that’s not the case at 7th and 133rd in Harlem, where Lucy Castillo said she makes sure to buy her stamps at the post office.
Unfortunately, there’s no way customers can tell a fake stamp from a real one. The only safeguard is to get your stamps from an actual post office, or from some other approved location.
The Postal Service has a list on its website. Most are chain pharmacy stores and supermarkets. Any place else, and it’s mail at your own risk.
“There’s security features that inspectors and postal employees are aware of, where they can check those features and determine that they’re counterfeit,” Boyle said.
So, Santa may not know, but your local post office does.
Printing fake postage is a federal offense, punishable by up to five years in prison.