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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Small Scam

from Michael Tortorella, W2IY on November 24, 2018
View comments about this article!

Small Scam -- Case of the Fake Stamps

I'd like to share with you an interesting new "small scam" that I was the target of recently.

It's not every day that a W2 gets a QSL request from a DX station with a SASE enclosed, but this was for an operation I made from IOTA NA-055 last summer. A DX station in Europe (I will not specify further) sent such a request with the SASE shown in the picture.

Something about the old-timey stamps didn't look right so I took the envelope down to my local USPS office and determined that the blue 5-cent Lincoln stamp and the brown 90-cent Lincoln stamps were fakes: you can find images of these on the Internet, and you can download and print them, which is what my correspondent did.

I am not the morals police, and it's not my place to call this guy out for bad behavior, but had I tried to use this envelope I would have been on the hook for whatever the USPS wanted to do to me. Too bad, because if the 90-cent Lincoln stamp were real it would be worth somewhere north of $400,000.

(Editor's note: The images have been altered slightly to keep the counterfeit stamps from being easily used from this article.)

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Small Scam  
by KJ4DGE on November 24, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Interesting. I recently was in Target and saw a machine called "Fraud alert" in use. Its a scanner for large bills like 100 dollar US bills. You insert the bill and it "reads" it. Guessing with everyone having access to tech these days its not too hard to do this stuff.

Personally I like the old fashion Secret Service method of a pencil eraser. If you can erase the ink off of a 100 dollar bill its a fake. Am sure postal inspectors and USSS agents both have crossovers in the fraud category.
 
RE: Small Scam  
by K9MHZ on November 24, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
That's your $400,000 from the Nigerian prince.
 
Small Scam  
by LYFAN on November 24, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I don't get it. You think they guy was scamming you? There's no way he'd gain anything from you, so there's no scam. The post office would probably yell at you and then drop the case when they figured out you were just dropping someone else's post in the mail. So where's the gain?
More likely, the guy who sent you the SASE bought a hundred bucks worth of "old US stamps" from the real scammer, and had no idea what he was sending you. Mix up some real ones and some fake ones, sell 'em in one batch, easy way to make money.
Or do you have any more specific reason to make the accusations?
 
Small Scam  
by NN2X on November 25, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I lost $18,000 + through a credit card (However, I eventually got it back) but let me explain

And I am very sorry if this is not Political Correct

I was a Hotel in Houston, up scale,and I was there for work. (Sales Trip)

I was there for 3 days, and the last day I paid my bill, and used my credit card to pay the bill.

I few day later I get a call from Bank of America, asking if i purchased 18,000 + of XBOX units. I said nope, not me..

We found the person who did this, however, he was an illegal alien working at this Hotel in Houston.

To make this story short,

Does "Catch and release" ring a bell?

He was released!

We all paid for this, lawyers, fees from Bank of America.

There are bad folks everywhere, but why the above person was not put in jail, is beyond my comprehension.

In summary, This fellow broke the law for coming into the USA illegally, and because of that, he is awarded when he commits a felony, and gets to go back home, and he might be part of the caravan folks coming into USA

This delayed my Ham purchase so there is some relevance!

Cheers

C U on the Bands (Legally!)

NN2X

Tom


 
RE: Small Scam  
by K9MHZ on November 25, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
"More likely, the guy who sent you the SASE bought a hundred bucks worth of "old US stamps" from the real scammer, and had no idea what he was sending you. Mix up some real ones and some fake ones, sell 'em in one batch, easy way to make money.
Or do you have any more specific reason to make the accusations?"

So you have "more likely" all figured out, but want "more specific reason" from the OP? Just read it and move on. It's interesting, but such a small matter to get crazy over. The OP would probably agree.
 
Small Scam  
by WD9IDV on November 25, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Not sure how you were scammed?
Also, you must have great postal workers where you live that could authenticate a stamp....

The postal workers at my post office barely know their own names.
 
Small Scam  
by K6CRC on November 25, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Millions of images of stamps online. Cut with screen -grabber and print. Likely, the stamps on the envelope from the country of orgin were from also screen-grabbed.
Why not? Likelihood of getting caught very low. If you are sending QSL card and SASE from Europe, the total postage will be over US$4.
In an age were all your stolen personal data is sitting on servers all over the world, why is a bit of postal larceny surprising everyone?
Worry about getting your identity hacked instead.
 
RE: Small Scam  
by SWMAN on November 26, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
IDV. That's funny that you say that, the postal workers here in Dallas can't read. They don't know what box to put the mail in. They can't read the names and addresses barely at all.
 
RE: Small Scam  
by KC7MF on November 26, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I see. So far we have one person posting a completely off-topic rant about one undocumented worker and two other people taking the opportunity to insult every postal worker in the country.

Hams used to be decent and kind people. Perhaps the decline of our hobby has little to do with Morse Code.....
 
RE: Small Scam  
by WD9IDV on November 26, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
No insult....just the facts.
 
RE: Small Scam  
by NN2X on November 27, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
To Rick (kc7mf)

I like your phrase "undocumented worker" / Not illegal alien?

I guess it is semantics. (Or just PC gone wild),

I just paid hell on getting my funds back ($18,000), and not seeing any results is really the scam (Catch and Release)

I lived in or short stays in 70 countries the last 43 years, and through all those travels, I needed a VISA, or documentation to get into these countries.

My wife is a foreigner, we had to wait 3 years, before she was allowed in the USA..

Sorry to digress...

NN2X

Tom C U on the bands.




 
RE: Small Scam  
by NN2X on November 27, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
To Rick (kc7mf)

I like your phrase "undocumented worker" / Not illegal alien?

I guess it is semantics. (Or just PC gone wild),

I just paid hell on getting my funds back ($18,000), and not seeing any results is really the scam (Catch and Release)

I lived in or short stays in 70 countries the last 43 years, and through all those travels, I needed a VISA, or documentation to get into these countries.

My wife is a foreigner, we had to wait 3 years, before she was allowed in the USA..

Sorry to digress...

NN2X

Tom C U on the bands.




 
RE: Small Scam  
by KC7MF on November 27, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Your problem was not an illegal alien. It was a criminal. You may not have noticed but we have home-grown criminals here. In fact we have one of the largest prison populations in the world.

I am for strong enforcement for sure. But you ought to save some of your ire for the guy who hired him.
 
RE: Small Scam  
by NN2X on November 27, 2018 Mail this to a friend!

I agree

"I am for strong enforcement for sure. But you ought to save some of your ire for the guy who hired him."
 
RE: Small Scam  
by KJ4DGE on November 27, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I hate to break up the party, but this was about QSL cards right?
 
RE: Small Scam  
by NN2X on November 27, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
To KJ4DGE / Gregory

Your quote

"I hate to break up the party, but this was about QSL cards right?"

Sorry to digress, I got scammed and indirectly cost me purchasing Ham equipment, (Lost 18K, (But finally got it back)

However, you are correct, I digressed to far..I stand corrected.

C U on the Bands

NN2X, Tom
 
RE: Small Scam  
by KA3JLW on November 27, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
>> I don't get it. You think they guy was scamming you? There's no way he'd gain anything from you, so there's no scam. The post office would probably yell at you and then drop the case when they figured out you were just dropping someone else's post in the mail. So where's the gain? <<

The scale is very small - $1.00 or so. But the scam is the use of another person (the US ham in this case) to steal value from a US provider (the US postal service) in exchange for something they want.

The steal is not directly from the US ham. But it does put that ham at risk, since they are the ones placing the fraudulent mail into the system. Like when someone steals my credit card...they (usually) ultimately steal from the bank, not me...but they probably put me in a bad spot and caused me inconvenience.

I do a lot of QSLs. If I see this, the 'stamps' will go in the trash. The response QSL won't be sent. I'm happy to pay for return postage in kind, but not willing to take on risk, even if minor.
 
RE: Small Scam  
by KJ4DGE on November 27, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
NN2X

I cannot remember ever being scammed in a radio transaction but maybe I am the exception. Have lost money in hacked checking accounts at credit unions though. I am guessing the postal inspectors and the USSS have better things to do like busting money counterfeiters and checking for bombs in packages along with wire-fraud hacks than devote time and effort to fake stamps....unless those stamps are sold as real and for 400,000 to collectors, then all H*ll would rain down on the seller :)

Once a stamp is postmarked from the senders location, that's all she wrote, (no pun intended). The USPS has accepted it as currency, not much else you can do at that point I guess.
 
Small Scam  
by KJ4DGE on November 29, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
OP, I saw your blurb at the end about altering the pic you included so they could not be used and I understand your concern but you stated anyone could take a picture from the internet of a stamp and print it out so whats the point of altering the one you included? The showing of a picture is not a crime, its how its used and for what purpose. But thank you for your concern, I do not think I will ever view stamps on my letters from overseas the same again.

(not that I get any)
 
Small Scam  
by W1VT on November 29, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
The 90 cent Lincoln was re-released as a souvenir sheet at the 1989 World Stamp Expo in Washington DC. A stamp cut out of the sheet should be legal for postage even though it may look like a photocopy.
 
RE: Small Scam  
by KA4NGW on November 29, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Being a long time stamp collector, I have encountered lots of fake stamps not only from the U.S. but the whole world.
Even though you altered the stamps depending on whether the Lincoln 5 cent is perf or Imperf.
Total cost for the envelope would be over $1,000
Thanks for the post.
 
RE: Small Scam  
by KJ4AUQ on December 1, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the info. This is just another reason why I do not do paper QSL's. and use EQSL. Not downing anyone who enjoys Paper or using the Bureau. Live long and prosper.
 
Small Scam  
by KL1T on December 4, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
I wouldn't worry about it. Then again, I drop the envelope into the blue box and it doesn't have my name or address on the outside. Once in the box it's no longer my concern if the PO accepts it or not. Even if they wanted to get me, they couldn't prove I'm the one who mailed it. QSL cards are a collectors item, no proof it came directly from me.

Of course, I've never received a card from DX, but the same thing could happen with "local" SASE's as well.
 
RE: Small Scam  
by VE3FAX on December 30, 2018 Mail this to a friend!
Fact is, the crime would not have been commited by the "criminal" had he not illigally been in the country. Dont bother with the "a legal citizen would have done it anyway" argument- one didnt.

I am a LEGAL US resident that has had more hassles and illegal injustices than your so called undocumented worker. Happy to tell you about it if your so conserned about social justice.
 
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