The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is planning to fight back against a rising tide of fake postage stamps by seizing items mailed under fraudulent means, the agency said today.
Under the new policy, consumers would lose any online items they had purchased that were falsely mailed, and would have to “seek recourse from the vendor,” USPS said.
The move is a response to “a surge in the use of counterfeit postage” that has been found in the mail stream in recent years. Using fake postage is a crime that “reflects an intentional effort to defraud the Postal Service of the funds it needs to provide services to the public,” USPS said.
“As the most trusted government agency in the nation, we will continue to work together with other law enforcement and government agencies to protect the sanctity of the mail,” Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale said in a release.
Specifically, USPS is filing a federal register notice about changes to the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), that will allow the service to treat items found in the mail stream bearing counterfeit postage as abandoned. Under the revision to that standard, known as DMM 604.8.4, articles found in the mails with counterfeit postage will be considered abandoned and may be opened and disposed of at the Postal Service’s discretion.