PostNL intercepts large series of counterfeit stamps sold through websites

Estimated damage of several million euro

PostNL has intercepted a large series of counterfeit postage stamps offered through public websites for a price well under face value. PostNL could have incurred several million euro in damage. PostNL’s authenticity recognition system identifies the counterfeit stamps after which shipment of the postal item will be stopped. Under Article 216 of the Dutch Criminal Code, anyone who counterfeits postage stamps or uses counterfeit postage stamps can be sent to prison for up to six years.

The series of counterfeit stamps can be identified because these were always stuck on a blank sticker sheet and sold on the websites specified below. To the untrained eye these stamps are otherwise indistinguishable from real stamps. For experts, however, they can be identified as false because they lack a number of PostNL-specific authenticity features, such as phosphor tagging. The sheets of stamps have been encountered mainly on registered letters and parcels, and have been used for both domestic and international mail.

2011-12-27 Counterfeit stamps

Caption: example of a parcel with counterfeit stamps

PostNL has informed the police and justice about these fraudulent practices and will collaborate fully in possible investigation executed by the prosecution.

Commercial Director at PostNL, Ger Jacobs: “At first sight, these stamps are almost indistinguishable from real stamps issued by PostNL. So I’m glad to see that our security system was able to identify these counterfeit stamps and that we were able to stop shipment of the mail items concerned. We would like to emphasise to our customers that stamps may not, under any circumstances, be sold under their face value: by law stamps are considered securities. This is why we have included a number of visible and invisible authenticity features in the design of our postage stamps.”

The following websites have been identified as offering counterfeit stamps for sale:

PostNL advises its customers who suspect they are in the possession of counterfeit stamps to report the fraud via the special email address or by means of a letter to the PostNL security department. PostNL will then make sure the police will receive these notofications.

PostNL Security 

PO Box 30250 


The Netherlands