We received an email from one of our loyal newsletter subscribers, Patrick K., who told us about fraudulent stamp ads that he found on Facebook. He was able to gather and share with us a number of fraudulent Facebook ads and their corresponding scam websites.
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The selling of fake postal stamps has been an issue for quite some time now, and the U.S. Postal Service has warned against this. Now, it looks like those items are being advertised on Facebook as well for as low as $19.99 for a roll of 100 stamps. Let’s dive in and discuss what to look out for from these scammers.
How do I know if an ad for stamps is fake?
The U.S. Postal Service has made clear that they only sell postal stamps at face value. They state on their website, “Scammers peddle fake stamps on social media marketplaces, e-commerce sites via third-party vendors, and other websites. Counterfeit stamps are often sold in bulk quantities at a significant discount–anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of their face value.”
So, if you see an advertisement on an online platform like Facebook for stamps that are ridiculously low-priced, it’s likely that those stamps are counterfeit.
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The U.S. Postal Service has teams of forensic scientists who can catch the subtle differences between a real postage stamp and a fake one, however, an average person could easily make that mistake and use a counterfeit stamp, which is a federal crime.
Other legitimate retailers such as Costco, Walgreens, and CVS are permitted to sell postage stamps at a discount by law, so it is possible to get postage stamps for slightly cheaper. However, the discount is always very slight, and the stamps themselves are legitimate and authorized by the U.S. Postal Service.
How do I know if an online store is fake?
There are multiple ways to be able to tell if an online store is fake. You should always research the store before buying anything from there and look to see if other people have given it poor reviews. Another good tip to remember is to check the website’s URL.
If it starts with “https” instead of “http”, this indicates a secure connection. And if the store is looking for you to make any form of payment that isn’t via credit cards or PayPal, there’s a good chance it’s a scam.
You can check out more of our tips for what to look for in a fake online store scam here.
What if I accidentally fall for a fake online store?
If you think you’ve become the victim of a scam, contact the Better Business Bureau. You can file a complaint with the 24/7 and they can look into the fake online store for you.
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Besides the BBB, you can also use IdentityTheft.org or call 877-438-4338 if you feel that your identity has been stolen or misused. Identity theft that has been made online can also be reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
What other resources can I use to protect myself?
Protecting your Identity
If you want additional layers of protection, handholding, recovery and theft insurance against identity theft, see my tips and best picks for Identity Theft protection by searching ‘identity theft‘ at CyberGuy.com by clicking the magnifying glass icon at the top of my website.
Protecting against clicking malicious links
The best way to protect yourself from accidentally clicking on untrustworthy links like those that may exist in some of these online fake stores is to have antivirus protection installed on all your devices.
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See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices by searching ‘BestAntivirus’ at CyberGuy.com by clicking the magnifying glass icon at the top of my website.
Where is the best place to buy stamps?
The best place for you to buy stamps is, without a doubt, the U.S. Postal Service. You can go to your local post office and purchase the stamps there. However, if you’re looking to save a little, here’s a list of places that also sell legit postage stamps for a slightly cheaper price:
- CVS Pharmacy
- Rite Aid
- 7 Eleven
- Wells Fargo
- Office Depot
- Office Max
You should always be buying stamps from approved vendors to avoid using counterfeit ones and having your mail confiscated, and never from an online platform like Facebook, Instagram, or any other retailer that you have never heard of.
Why does Facebook allow these fraudulent ads?
It’s not exactly that Facebook allows people to post fraudulent ads to the site. It’s more so that these scammers have found a way for their posts to avoid Facebook’s verification process altogether.
The way they do this is by buying accounts that have already gone through the verification process, such as business manager accounts that are allowed to post lots of ads.
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Once hackers take over these accounts, they can charge thousands of dollars in ad spending to credit cards associated with the compromised accounts and post whatever ads they want. So, it’s really a flaw within Facebook’s verification process that allows these ads to come to life.
Have you seen these or other fraudulent ads on Facebook or other platforms? Let us know by contacting us at CyberGuy.com/contact.
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