Buyer beware: Counterfeit stamp sales expand

The September listing of discount postage stamps on the Japanese e-commerce site Mercari seemed a great buy to Sherri Hartman of suburban Indianapolis.

The deal: rolls of 100 of the 2018 “zig-zag” U.S. flag stamps were going for $27 — less than half of face value. She decided to buy 10 rolls.

Hartman wondered why they were being offered at such a low cost.

“I thought, ‘It’s amazing,'” she told me in a telephone interview. “I justified it in my mind as being with COVID, businesses are closing and there was a business that shut down, but had bought a bunch of stamps and wanted to unload them to recover some of their money.”

When her order arrived by priority mail from Cayucos, California, a coastal town north of San Luis Obispo, Hartman became suspicious.

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