Fake UK stamps blamed on Chinese-made counterfeits

Discover the latest insights into the concerning rise of counterfeit stamps in the UK and the efforts being made to combat this issue.

Apr 23, 2024

Counterfeit stamps have become a growing concern in the UK, with reports indicating that these fakes are originating from China. This troubling trend has prompted complaints from consumers who unknowingly purchase counterfeit stamps from legitimate stores, only to face additional charges when using them.

People are being charged 5Pounds as fine for counterfeit stamp. Source: https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/

Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith has pointed to China as the source of these fake stamps, shedding light on the magnitude of the problem. Royal Mail, the UK's postal service, acknowledges the issue and is actively working to remove counterfeit stamps from circulation.

Although consumers are urged to remain vigilant and watch for slight signs of counterfeit stamps, such as unusual perforations, surface shine, or discrepancies in colour - How realistic is it? Try yourself - which of the following is real? 

The left is Original, right Counterfeit. Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/

An investigation by the Daily Telegraph uncovered alarming revelations, including Chinese companies offering to produce up to one million counterfeit stamps per week, some selling for as little as 4p each. These fake stamps have been found on various websites and unknowingly purchased by small retailers.

While the extent of Chinese government involvement remains unclear, it is evident that Chinese firms are playing a role in the distribution of counterfeit stamps. Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake emphasizes the importance of preventing counterfeit stamps from infiltrating the UK's supply chain and calls on Royal Mail to take decisive action.

The impact of counterfeit stamps hits close to home for individuals like Christine, whose heartfelt gestures were met with unexpected fees due to counterfeit stamps. Christine's experience highlights the urgency of addressing this issue to protect consumers from financial burdens and uphold the integrity of the postal system.

As efforts continue to combat the proliferation of fake stamps, it is essential for authorities and consumers alike to remain vigilant and work together to safeguard the authenticity of UK mail.

The chance of getting a counterfeit stamp is low, Royal Mail's director of external affairs and policy, David Gold, told. Barcoded stamps were introduced in 2022 to cut down on the sale of fakes and Mr Gold said this had reduced the number of counterfeits by 90%.

However, he admitted that even he struggled to spot a fake. "The reality is counterfeiters now are so good at what they do that even I... can't tell the difference just by looking at them."

Tips to avoid buying fake stamps

Royal Mail suggests several ways to reduce the chances of ending up with fake stamps:

  • Beware of discounts: Online sellers promoting what appears to be a "too good to be true" offer might be selling counterfeits
  • Use well known shops: Buy stamps from a Royal Mail-approved outlet such as the Post Office, reputable High Street retailers or the Royal Mail website
  • Spot the signs: Counterfeits which can have an unusually shiny surface, unusual colouration or inaccurate perforations, but this is not always the case
  • Report it: If you suspect you have been a victim of stamp fraud complete the Royal Mail's online form or call the company's customer services team on 03457 740 740.

original article: BBC News https://www.bbc.com/news/business-68786782

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