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The Case of the Bogus Bodega Stamps

The Stamp Collecting Report. I'm Lloyd de Vries.

Some letters are rejected by the Postal Service -- because the stamps on them are counterfeits.

"There are certain security features in many of the stamps, which leads them to be identified by our mail processing equipment."
RUNS :07 

But Postal Inspector Ralph Nardo, in New York, says modern computers make 
counterfeiting fairly easy. Even he has trouble telling real stamps from fakes 
without special equipment.

"There's four separate private companies that produce the stamps for the Postal 
Service, so there are sometimes variations in legitimate stamps."
RUNS :08 

Most of the counterfeits are fake flag stamps. It's not just a problem in New 
York, but there, Nardo has found a pattern.

"We find them mostly in the poorer neighborhoods, and, at this point, the 
investigation has indicated a lot of the stamps are coming back to a local 
grocery store or delicatessen."
RUNS :10 

They're also sometimes offered for sale on eBay.

The sellers might not know the stamps are fake. Even when Nardo and his team 
bust a counterfeiter, bringing the case to trial can be difficult: A roll of a 
hundred stamps is only 41 dollars.

"The dollar amount usually will indicate how much federal authorities will want 
to pursue prosecution."
RUNS :05 

Inspector Nardo says your best bet is to buy your stamps directly from the Postal 
Service -- at a post office, on its Web site or by phone -- but the Postal Service 
is also encouraging the sales of stamps at banks and chain stores. 

I'm Lloyd de Vries of The Virtual Stamp Club. For more on stamps and stamp collecting, 
visit virtual-stamp-club-dot-com.

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