STAMP THIS OUT
Businessman’s anger as stamp fraud costs him
A Wishaw businessman has been hit hard in the pocket after a shopkeeper in the town sold him fake stamps.
The man bought £70 worth of first class stamps from Lifestyle Express on Main Street.
“I used some of them to send out invoices to clients for work I had carried out,” said the business owner, who did not wish to be named.
“But I started to wonder what had happened when the money I expected didn’t come in.
“It was only when a client I knew well came in and told me he had to go to the post depot in Netherton to collect the letter because it had been marked as unpaid due to counterfeit stamping that I realised something was wrong.
“What made it worse, was that the customer had to pay a £2 surcharge to get the letter from Royal Mail.”
The man also believes that his business has suffered as a result.
He said: “I think a lot of people would not have gone to the depot to collect the letter because they suspect it is junk mail and because they would have to pay a surcharge to get it.”
And he warned the public to be aware of what can happen when they are making purchases.
“I mean, who would ever think that Royal Mail stamps are fake?” he said.
The businessman claims that Royal Mail told him that there are thousands of fakes in circulation and they are looking into the matter.
When the Wishaw Press called at Lifestyle Express, the owner, Usman Hameed, initially claimed that he did not sell stamps and had never sold stamps.
But he then quickly changed his position and insisted he always bought the stamps he sold from reputable outlets.
When pressed, he then conceded that he had bought some from a man who came into his shop.
“It’s a mystery to me how this has happened but I think if any I sold were fake, then that may be the source of them,” added Mr Hameed, 32.
The shop owner also went on to apologise for any inconvenience he had caused.
“I clearly did not know, or have any reason to suspect, any stamps were fake but I am extremely sorry if anybody had trouble because of it,” he said.
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “Royal Mail recommends that customers always buy their stamps from reputable Royal Mail approved outlets.
“If in doubt, stamps are available in Post Offices throughout the UK and online at www.royalmail.com.
“Our security features include: die cuts within the body of the stamps; the words ‘Royal Mail’ printed in a special ink across the surface of the stamp and wider oval perforations along both sides, close to the base of the stamp.
“We also have bands of phosphor printed on the stamp for operational reasons and these are difficult to counterfeit.
“Royal Mail takes any attempt to defraud it extremely seriously and will actively investigate to find the source of the counterfeit stamps.
“If in doubt always report any suspicious stamps to Royal Mail Customer Services for us to investigate.”
Dodgy A book of fake stamps and, above, one of the letter rejected by the Royal Mail