Royal Mail investigating barcoded stamps after GB News exposed 'counterfeit' stamp scandal

Royal Mail investigating barcoded stamps after GB News exposed 'counterfeit' stamp scandal

A GB News investigation found Royal Mail has been deeming stamps "counterfeit" despite them being bought from reputable sources

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 03/04/2024

- 00:22

Updated: 03/04/2024

- 12:38

A GB News investigation in January found dozens of people had been charged £5 due to a "counterfeit" stamp, which the sender had bought at Post Offices and small supermarkets

Royal Mail is investigating problems with new barcoded stamps, after a GB News investigation found Britons are being charged £5 for their post, despite the senders insisting they bought the stamps from a reputable source.

GB News has highlighted numerous instances from all over the country, where Britons have bought first and second-class stamps from Post Office, shops in Post Offices and small supermarkets.

However, Post Office has said Post Office Ltd receives its stamps direct from Royal Mail’s secure printers.

Following a meeting on Tuesday between Post Office Minister Kevin Hollinrake and Royal Mail chief executive, Royal Mail has reportedly committed to investigating the issue.

While a formal investigation is not understood to have been launched, Royal Mail assured the minister it is working with retailers including Post Office to identify the "source of the problem".

Mr Hollinrake told The Telegraph: “We spoke to Royal Mail and they are investigating and they are working alongside the Post Office and other retailers to try and ascertain the source of the problem.”

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Royal Mail stamp deemed 'counterfeit' \u00a35 to pay sign and Royal Mail logo

Royal Mail has deemed dozens of stamps "counterfeit" but the sender insists they bought it from Post Office


A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “Royal Mail takes the illegal production of counterfeit stamps seriously. Since the introduction of barcoded stamps we have been able to significantly reduce stamp fraud through added security features.

"Every barcode is unique which allows us to identify whether a stamp is genuine or not, and whether they have been previously used.

“We want our customers to buy stamps with confidence. We strongly recommend that customers only purchase stamps from Post Offices and other reputable High Street retailers, and not to buy stamps online – unless from the official Royal Mail shop .

"Our website provides customers with guidance on how to spot counterfeit or used stamps and we urge customers to report any suspicious stamps to Royal Mail via our website at so that we can investigate.

“We are working hard to remove counterfeit stamps from circulation.

"We regularly monitor to detect suspicious activity, such as sales of heavily discounted stamps and work closely with retailers and law enforcement agencies to identify those who produce counterfeit stamps.

“We have a robust, multistage process in place when assessing whether stamps are genuine.

"This includes a thorough examination using specialist equipment, then a follow up inspection by a skilled member of the team before any stamp is marked as counterfeit or pre-used.”

A Post Office spokesperson previously told GB News: "Stamps are available to buy from a number of different sources. Post Office Ltd receives its stamps direct from Royal Mail’s secure printers.

“Customers who buy stamps at Post Offices are given an itemised receipt, and this is required to investigate any allegations of fake stamps."


Envelope shows Royal Mail deemed second-class stamp as "counterfeit" and applied a \u00a35 surcharge

Recipients have to pay £5 to get the letter if the stamp is deemed "counterfeit" by Royal Mail


Barcoded stamps were first introduced by Royal Mail in February 2022.

They have since fully replaced non-barcoded stamps, which are no longer valid for postage.

Royal Mail said the move was part of the company's "extensive and ongoing modernisation drive".

They said it would "allow the unique barcodes to facilitate operational efficiencies, enable the introduction of added security features and pave the way for innovative services for customers".

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