Authored by: Nataliia Popova DocuSend.
If you are Buying Online Postage Stamps, don’t fall victim to stamp fraud: here’s what happens if you buy bogus stamps
Postage stamps are our good old friends. For some people, sticking them on is just a routine; for others, there’s something romantic about stamps that makes collecting them a fascinating hobby. For some, they symbolize great things, like the postal culture of the USA, its history, and its unity.
Unfortunately, there are people who associate stamps with a means of illegal profit. During the last century, counterfeiting stamps would have been a difficult and unprofitable task. However, in today’s complicated world of technology, with its sophisticated equipment, capabilities for mass production, and access to online platforms and social media, everything has changed. Even doing such a simple thing as buying stamps, one can fall victim to cynical internet scammers. In January 2022, the U.S. Postal Service issued an alert the number of counterfeit stamps being sold online by third-party vendors has increased.
Forewarned is forearmed
The high frequency of such offers on internet marketplaces, the scale of the turnover, and numerous advertisements of so-called discount stamps on social media prompted the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) to come out with an explanation. According to the USPIS, this is a recent type of fraud. See https://bestlifeonline.com/usps-fake-stamps-news/
The discounts for these counterfeit stamps range from 20 to 50 percent of the cost compared to those purchased from official sellers. The USPS doesn’t sell stamps below their official value, although you can get a small discount from some of its vendors. But it’s never a significant drop in price, so an attractive discount is the first thing that should make you suspicious and lead you to think that the stamps are probably fake.
Are fake stamps easy to verify?
The quality of bogus stamps keeps improving every year, so they are difficult to identify with the naked eye. Besides that, scammers advertise using photos of real stamps, so what you see online will not be what you receive. The most frequent cases of fraud are related to the imitation of the Flag Stamp—the first-class forever stamp.
Small business owners who send large volumes of invoices and are looking for ways to cut mailing costs are especially at risk because counterfeit stamps are often sold in bulk and are presented as a good means of economizing.
What happens to the mail piece with a bogus stamp?
Former and current USPS workers say that counterfeit stamps are easily recognizable by scanning. Real stamps are printed using special ink that fluoresces under UV light at a certain frequency. Special machines detect stamps that don’t glow and reject them. After separating these mail pieces from the rest, the stamps are verified by postal employees who are well trained to notice every small detail, as they are used to dealing with millions of genuine stamps. Counterfeit postage is forwarded to the Postal Inspectors for further investigation. The mail piece may also be returned to the sender and held for postage due. It’s difficult to say which is worse: the embarrassment of realizing that money has gone to waste, or the fact that important documents will not be delivered on time. Just imagine the possible consequences if a small business sends a large number of documents to customers or business partners, and they never arrive.
A safe alternative to spend less
What makes this type of fraud successful? Shrewd scammers play on people’s reasonable wish to save money. But here’s the good news: cloud technologies have changed the business mail process, creating an opportunity to save up to half your mailing costs—and it doesn’t come with disappointment.
DocuSend’s cloud-based mailroom is a pay-as-you-go service that requires no contracted minimums or set-up charges—it was created for medium and small business owners, organizations, and just people who want to free up their time and cut down their mailing costs. Users not only do not need to buy stamps, but neither do they need to buy envelopes, paper, or even a printer. The time-consuming tasks, like buying the postage materials, printing the documents and inserting them into envelopes, and applying postage, can all be delegated to the mailroom in the cloud, and it will be twice as cheap as doing everything yourself. All that needs to be done is to print documents to a PDF file and upload them on the docusend.biz site.
For FreshBooks and QuickBooks Online users, there is an option to use DocuSend’s app right from their account. The app is easy and intuitive to use and provides many features for different types of documents. The uploading process consists of simple steps and takes a few minutes, and after receiving your PDF, the service takes care of your mail; it prints your documents and sends them via USPS using automated first-class postage.
A personal portal is available to every user at no cost. It lets them review information about all mail that has been sent for the past six months and helps them keep track of expenses. You can view the images of the documents that were already sent in the Image Bank, or, if you are worried about the retention of sensitive data, choose DocuSend’s HIPAA compliant feature, and your PDF will be eliminated from the system immediately after printing. DocuSend distributes foreign mail, provides a certified mail option to track your most important mail pieces, and offers high-quality color printing and the ability to add flyers. A double-sided printing feature is another way to reduce costs. This option is especially useful when sending mail overseas, as it enables you to send up to 8 pages while staying within the 4-sheet limit for foreign mail.
We all can relate to the situation when you send an important piece of mail and are worried about its delivery. DocuSend provides every user with the Mail Trail option, which tracks the letter’s movement through the USPS to the recipient’s postal facility. And if you are a business owner who has customers that prefer to receive invoices and bills via e-mail, there is the DocuLink email solution that makes this process more reliable and safer. DocuLink provides secure links instead of attachments that can be a target for cybercriminals, and enables you to get real-time reports on whether the link was opened. Sending large amounts of marketing mail can become quick and easy by uploading only the PDF template and CSV File with the corresponding mailing addresses. The last but not the least important thing is that there is no need to download any software. Access and use the cloud-based mailroom when you want and pay only for the documents or emails you want to send right now.
It’s about more than cutting expenses
True, DocuSend is reliable and cost-effective for mailing and it will also reduce the time you spend mailing manually. Instead of buying stamps, take advantage of what modern mailing technology has to offer. Using a cloud-based mailroom brings a whole new level of mailing service for small businesses. While those around you are still wasting time buying stamps, it’s better to join the ranks of businesses that enjoy a secure and comfortable mailing service. The time and effort you save will free you up for achieving more of your goals.