US Stamps

Counterfeit U.S. stamps seized at DFW airport in Texas

Mar 27, 2023, 11 AM
More than 4,000 counterfeit U.S. stamps were seized in mid-March by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Shown are counterfeits of some of the issues. Photo courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

By Charles Snee

In mid-March, United States Customs and Border Protection officers confiscated more than 4,000 counterfeit U.S. postage stamps at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas.

According to a March 16 press release published on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website, “The fraudulent stamps were discovered after CBP officers inspected packages that were manifested as ‘hand account/self-adhesive sheets.’ ”

A total of 4,080 counterfeit stamps were discovered in 12 shipments from China, one of which contained 200 forever stamps with a declared value of $10, Customs and Border Protection said.

The current face value of 200 nondenominated (63¢) forever stamps is $126.

“When examining the shipment, CBP officers found sheets of really poor quality stamps and the value for those was suspicious at $10,” Yolanda Choates, a public affairs specialist for Customs and Border Protection, told Linn’s Stamp News.

“We notified the US Postal Inspection Service of our exam and they confirmed that those were counterfeit stamps,” Choates said.

Some of the stamps in the seized shipments were counterfeits of the 2016 Patriotic Spiral stamp in booklet panes of 10, 2019 Coral Reefs stamps in panes of 20, and 2022 U.S. Flag stamps in double-sided panes of 20 and coil rolls of 100.

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service offers this sage advice, ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,’ especially when it comes to purchasing extremely discounted postage,” said Thomas Noyes, inspector in charge of the Fort Worth division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, in the Customs and Border Protection press release.

In response to a surge in the use of counterfeit postage stamps, the U.S. Postal Service plans to make changes to its Domestic Mail Manual that will allow the agency to treat items in the mail bearing counterfeit stamps as abandoned.

In a Feb. 16 filing on the Federal Register website, the Postal Service proposes to revise the Domestic Mail Manual “to provide that when all articles with counterfeit postage are found they will be considered abandoned and disposed of at the discretion of the Postal Service, rather than be returned to the sender as the affixing of counterfeit postage reflects a refusal to pay postage or an intentional effort to avoid paying postage.”

The USPS intends to implement the change beginning April 1, the filing said.

On its website, the Postal Inspection Service recommends buying stamps from what it calls “Approved Postal Providers.”

“Approved vendors can include legitimate ‘big box’ or warehouse retailers who do provide very small discounts on postage stamps, but this is through resale agreements with the Postal Service,” the Postal Inspection Service said.

Stamps may also be purchased at post offices across the country and through the Postal Service’s online Postal Store.

Numerous U.S. definitive and commemorative stamps have been counterfeited in recent years. Detailed listings for these fake issues are given in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Counterfeits.

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