BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The United States Postal Service (USPS) is issuing a warning about the use and sale of counterfeit postage, as well as introducing changes to the way items bearing it are handled.

Counterfeit postage has been defined by the USPS as ‘any marking or indicia that has been made, printed, or otherwise created without authorization from the Postal Service that is printed or applied, or otherwise affixed, on an article placed on mail that indicates or represents that valid postage has been paid to mail the article.’ These markings are crimes not only because those using them seek to obtain services without payment, but because they are also seen as direct and intentional efforts to defraud the Postal Service of the funds it needs to provide services to the public.

In response to the surge of counterfeit postage, the USPS is filing a federal notice about changes to their mailing standards and Domestic Mail Manual (DMM). This, they claim, will help maintain the mission of the post office — to ensure the safety, security, and integrity of the U.S Mail service.

Under these new changes, any piece of mail or package within the postal service that is found to bear counterfeit postage will be considered abandoned, and disposed of at the Postal Service’s discretion. If this occurs, consumers will need to seek recourse from the vendor.

“As the most trusted government agency in the nation,” states Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale, “we will continue to work together with other law enforcement and government agencies to protect the sanctity of the mail.”

Public comments regarding the use of counterfeit postage can be mailed or delivered to the following address before March 15:

Manager, Product Classification, U.S Postal Service

475 L’Enfant Plaza Southwest

Room 4446

Washington, DC 20260-5015

If one seeks to send a comment by email regarding these proposed changes, the USPS asks that messages are sent to, and include one’s name, address, and the subject of ‘Counterfeit Postage’. Note that all submitted comments and attachments are considered public records and subject to disclosure.

To learn more about the United States Postal Service, visit their website here.