Beware of Forever Stamp Scams

Scam offers of deep discounts on Forever Stamps took off around the winter holidays in 2021.

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Claim

You can buy USPS Forever Stamps online for anywhere from 20% to 50% off their normal rates.

Origin

Since December 2021, U.S. Postal Service (USPS) officials have been warning people that if they see a deal on Forever Stamps that involves deep discounts, there’s a good chance it’s a scam.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement agency for USPS, warned in a Feb. 8, 2022, alert:

The number of counterfeit stamps being sold from online platforms has escalated. Scammers peddle fake stamps on social media marketplaces, e-commerce sites via third party vendors, and other websites. Counterfeit stamps are often sold in bulk quantities at a significant discount–anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of their face value. That’s a tell-tale sign they’re bogus.

Forever Stamps were launched by the Post Office in 2007 and “can be used to mail a one-ounce letter regardless of when the stamps are purchased or used and no matter how prices may change in the future.” They are priced the same as First Class Mail stamps.

According to AARP, an advocacy organization for seniors, many of the scams took place on social media platforms like Facebook, auction site eBay, and sundry illicit websites. Popular stamps that have been faked have been those bearing the U.S. flag and “numerous commemoratives including ‘Love Skywriting’ (2017), ‘Hot Wheels’ (2018), Cactus Flowers (2019) and Winter Scenes (2020).”

Like many scams, the counterfeit postage stamp scams took off around the winter holidays, but it’s always good to be on the lookout. The Post Office recommends that those seeking to purchase stamps get them from an approved provider, which can be found using this search tool.

The basic rule to avoid scams is to remember the adage that if something seems too good to be true, it is. Some big box retails sell Forever Stamps at a slight discount through retail agreements with USPS, but the Postal Inspection Services stated that if you’re seeing a “deal” offering steep price cuts to the tune of 20% to 50% off, it’s probably a scam.


Sources:

“Counterfeit Stamps – USPIS.” United States Postal Inspection Service, https://www.uspis.gov/news/scam-article/counterfeit-stamps. Accessed 16 Feb. 2022.

Witsil, Frank. “Fake Forever Stamps Are Going around: What to Know about USPS Warning.” Detroit Free Press, 7 Jan. 2022, https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2022/01/07/fake-vs-real-stamps-usps-counterfeit-discount/9127916002/.

Skiba, Katherine. “Beware Surge in Counterfeit Postage Stamps ​​.” AARP, 17 Dec. 2021, https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2021/fake-postage-stamp.html.