According to reports from the British BBC, complaints are currently increasing in Great Britain that stamps purchased – even from reputable shops – are turning out to be counterfeit. The counterfeits would be offered for sale on various websites. Smaller retailers also bought there unknowingly and distributed them this way.

In this context, an undercover investigation by the “Daily Telegraph” revealed that several Chinese companies are offering to produce up to a million counterfeit stamps every week – of course at prices far below their face value.

Royal Mail is responsible for postal services in Great Britain. A spokesman told the Daily Telegraph: “We work hard to remove counterfeit stamps from circulation. We regularly monitor online marketplaces to detect suspicious activity such as the sale of heavily discounted stamps and work closely with retailers and law enforcement to to identify those who produce counterfeit stamps.”

It is still unclear how many stamps are currently in circulation. “We work closely with a number of police forces across the country to arrest criminals and search premises. Most recently, the authorities seized stamps with a retail value of around 293,000 euros. Anyone who receives a letter with a counterfeit stamp in the UK will be asked to pay a fine of five pounds (5.85 euros) by Royal Mail.

Security experts and MPs described the mass counterfeiting as an “act of economic warfare” comparable to “printing counterfeit money”, according to the Daily Telegraph. For example, Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith is sure who is causing the counterfeit glut: “China is behind it,” he states via BBC.

Alan Mendoza, founder of the British think tank “Henry Jackson Society”, explains in an interview with the “Daily Telegraph” that the mass production of counterfeit stamps has damaged the British economy and adds: “It is inconceivable that a large-scale counterfeit operation like this could exist without this knowledge and thus the tacit consent of the Chinese Communist Party.” This is an obvious form of economic warfare.

However, the probability of accidentally receiving a counterfeit stamp in Great Britain is relatively low. David Gold, director of external affairs and policy at the Royal Mail, tells the BBC that they represent “less than 0.1 per cent of total stamps”.

Sources:  BBC, “Daily Telegraph” (paid content)