Some charities selling packages of used stamps as a means of raising funds are inadvertently enabling fraud, the Charity Commission has warned, when these stamps are fraudulently resold as valid postage.
The Commission is advising charities to avoid engaging in this activity unless they are certain that the stamps collected and sold are genuinely being bought by collectors, and are not being used for fraudulent purposes.
It has issued this advice on warning signs to look out for:
Requests to bulk buy
Be wary of requests from individuals to purchase UK or GB ‘kiloware’ from you in bulk. Genuine collectors tend to have their own sources of used stamps and often trade with each other – it is unlikely that they would specifically call on charities to provide loose stamps.
Requests for certain types of stamps
There is no reason for any genuine dealer to request previously used, uncancelled stamps, ‘Non Value Indicator’ stamps (do not display a price), or Christmas stamps in bulk. An uncancelled stamp is one that has been through the postal system, but not marked as used.
Offering to deal stamps on your behalf
Some stamp collectors may genuinely request foreign or specialist stamps but charities should consider a company or person offering to deal stamps on their behalf as a potential red flag.
To protect a charity from stamp fraud, the Commission is recommending declining requests from individuals or groups who wish to purchase used GB stamps directly – either through direct contact or via a charity’s online marketplace.
It also recommends checking the type of stamps you are collecting as foreign stamps are less likely to be fraudulently sold in the UK, checking that your charity name is not being used in ‘kiloware’ advertising without your permission, and only buying stamps for a charity’s own use from the Post Office or another reputable seller.
Charities should also let Royal Mail know if they suspect a request may not be from a genuine dealer.
Commenting on the alert, an Oxfam spokesperson said:
“The focus of Oxfam’s stamp sales is on rare and vintage collections. Following the Charity Commission’s warning, our trading team is in the process of alerting our shop network to the issue. We are in touch with the Charity Retail Association for advice and reviewing our guidance in line with other charity retailers.”
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