As the U.S. Postal Service grapples with service cuts and massive budget shortfalls, an estimated $134.4 million dollars of its annual revenue is quietly slipping away to counterfeiters and perpetrators of other types of postal fraud.
Counterfeit stamps have been identified as a steady, recurring risk for the Postal Service, which reported a loss of $8.5 billion in the last fiscal year — and they are one of the 10 biggest threats to Postal Service revenue, according to the 2009 annual report of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement arm of the Post Office.
Bogus stamps affect the consumers who buy them, too. People who buy stamps online or at local stores are at risk of unknowingly purchasing counterfeits — and then having their mail returned unopened.
\”To avoid being scammed, U.S. Postal Service stamps and products should be purchased either at a U.S. Post Office, USPS.com or a reputable vendor,\” Postal Inspector Michael Romano, spokesman for the Postal Inspection Service, said.
\”Customers should be wary about purchasing these products at a price significantly lower than their current value,\” he said.
Manufacturing or knowingly selling fake postage stamps is a federal crime punishable by fines and/or up to five years in prison.
Source: Report By Jana Winter (FOXNews.com )