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Counterfeit stamps circulating in Annex

July 12th, 2011 · No Comments

By Cara Waterfall

While the Canada Post strike is over, the organization still has its share of headaches. The RCMP said the company has lost millions of dollars because of counterfeit stamp operations in the last year.

The RCMP and police raided 24 retail and commercial stores and seized 40,000 counterfeit stamps and 10,000 authentic, reused ones. The convenience stores sold the forged stamps while the reused stamps were sold online.

Corporal David Sutherland, who heads the RCMP’s Greater Toronto Area Federal Enforcement Section, said that the raids did not involve any stores in the Annex, but counterfeit stamps are circulating in the neighbourhood.“Our investigation revealed counterfeit stamps were mailed directly from within [this area] to other areas of Toronto and beyond,” he said.

However, at least one neighbourhood store is stocking the forgeries. Susan Oppenheim, owner of Java Mama (1075 Bathurst St.), did not realize she had purchased a counterfeit stamp until she got a call from her daughter.

The forgery was flagged with a special rubber stamp that said “counterfeit stamp, return to sender.”

Despite Oppenheim’s desire to keep the store anonymous, she notified the business owners of the counterfeit, and described their reaction as “puzzled.”

The convenience store in question declined to comment on this story.

According to Cpl. Sutherland, stamp counterfeiting does not generally result in jail time, but if found guilty, offenders can face fines ranging from $0 to $1 million.

In March, a one-year investigation culminated in five suspects being arrested including two from Toronto.

Cpl. Sutherland advises local residents and businesses to be vigilant when purchasing stamps, especially if deep discounts are provided.

Canada Post does have measures in place to detect the counterfeit stamps, but declined to provide specific details. “The more we give information on that, the more information people who would like to do it illegally have,” said Latour.

“What is important to remember with counterfeit stamps is that they could be returned to sender at the sender’s cost,” said Canada Post spokeswoman, Geneviève Latour. “It is important to buy from registered dealers.”

Cpl. Sutherland said that they believe that all the counterfeit stamps originated from the same point, although it is unclear whether they were produced locally or imported to Canada. The forged stamps featured the same series of classic Canadian images: lighthouses from the Dec. 27, 2007 series, and the Queen and Vancouver 2010 Olympics images from the Jan. 12, 2010 series.

For more information, call the RCMP at 905-953-7271 or Canada Post at 416-345-7503 ext. 54384, or, mail a letter to Canada Post, Attn: Customer Service, 4567 Dixie Rd, Mississauga ON L4W 1S2

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