"Incomplete" postcards, and how these are treated officially

Couple of things I’ve been thinking occasionally:

If the sender forgets to write the ID-number, do they get a message about it (from Postcrossing team), when the receiver asks for help?

Or should the receiver mention they needed help for registering the card?

If someone sends me a card with for example fake postage, and I am told not to register it, is the cheater asked to send me another card with real postage? Or what happens to that card in the system? Does it stay in their travelling list, and looks like I didn’t get the card, or is it removed or marked somehow?

1 Like

Yes. My friend said she got email from postcrossing team about the importance of writing the ID clearly bla bla bla bla… I can’t remember the details


Yes, you do get a reminder message from Postcrossing if there is a problem with the ID number on your card as the sender.

I’ve also had one person contact me directly asking me to check the ID number as they had trouble registering it. That’s one reason why I always put my Postcrossing name on my cards & ask senders to do the same.

If you got a card with fake postage, then it clearly made it through the postal system. I’m not sure how I would be able to tell fake postage from real postage from most countries I receive postcards from.

I can’t imagine Postcrossing being involved in this unless it was a repeat issue with a member.


But the only way they could know if it was more than a once off is if people report it. I think I read somewhere that it’s actually in the guidelines that you should report it, and wait to register until you get an answer.

Yes, I’ve read that guideline & agree, but my point was most us would not be able to tell whether postage from another country was fake - I doubt I could tell that about postage from my own country.

I suspect postage stamp fraud is probably a lot like counterfeit money - you’d need to be pretty skilled to detect it and I gather from news reports postal fraud is a huge issue for postal systems around the world.

I received card with this pig stamp in 2019. I though it was sticker because it didn’t look like a stamp at all. I always was wondering how this card arrived using a sticker as stamp. In 2020 I just found out that the pig is a real stamp. Can’t imagine if I reported the card to postcrossing stamp :sweat_smile:


I don’t imagine fake postage (except for people drawing something to confuse the machine, as I read someone had received) is a big problem here. The biggest problem is people using no stamps or not high enough value. Faking stamps would be done to make money, not to send out cards so they could receive some back, I would assume.

To know if the value is correct, you can check out this wiki: Prices of stamps for postcards in all countries/territories (wiki)

Nothing bad would have happened. They would have contacted the sender, who would tell them it was a real stamp, and then you would have known too!


There are apparently huge criminal enterprises that print & distribute fake stamps which are very sophisticated fakes. Millions of dollars in lost revenue happen each year for most postal systems. Some postal systems use some of the same anti-counterfeiting features that currency issuers do to try & prevent fraud.

Where I suspect some Postcrossers might have trouble is buying stamps they think are legit & then finding out they are not because the post office returns their mail or investigates.

1 Like

The fake stamps I have received wouldn’t have convinced anyone. One was a white rectangle with the word thanks printed in it. Most have just had STS scribbled on by hand.


Yes, and I’ve received a card with a tiny amount Polish stamp from Germany, (the fake was only an example), I am just interested in that, are they told to send another card, and does it look like the card is still travelling, when in fact it has reached me, but not the way it should (or is not a card).

I too have been asked if Moomin stamps were real, and also if our “economy” sticker that shows a little cheaper sending class, are really usable.

Also we have stamps that have a scratch off part, and German post had thought it’s not good, and returned it to me (good thing it was a letter and I had my return address).

So I’m always a little worried to use a little stranger stamps.

But sometimes it’s clear the stamp is too low value, or from wrong country etc. What happens to these cards?

1 Like

But this is good to know, as once I got a Hurray, where she wrote that she registers late, because my card didn’t have an ID (which I normally write twice, and check when uploading the photo). Already then I suspected if she mixed the Hurray with some other card :slight_smile:
Of course sometimes I might have forgot it, or it’s smudged etc.

I don’t know about counterfeit stamps, but about cards with too little postage. I actually never paid attention to it until I became seriously interested im stamps. Now I always check the stamps on my cards and surprisingly many cards arrive here with only national instead of international postage. I know the postage rates of some countries by heart now, e.g. the US, where tbh most underpaid cards come from. (using only a postcard stamp worth $0.35 instead of $1.20) Also, sometimes when there’s less than €0.50 on cards from Europe I usually look it up. I’m not talking about forgetting € or $ 0.05 or so here. I once got a card from Germany using a machine stamp worth €0.01. In these cases, the Postcrossing team tells you not to register the card and ask the sender to send you a card using proper postage. When it’s a newbie and they clearly confused national and international postage without bad intentions, they usually tell you to register it and send them an email clarifying the difference.

About forgetting the ID, I forgot the ID on a card some time ago and never received an email from the team about it. I only learned it because the recipient told me.

1 Like

One interesting thing to know is:in Euro countries, are the “old coin” stamps still valid? For example here in Italy the stamps in Lira are still valid, you just need to make the conversion and arrive at the same amount in Euro. (Need many stamps to do that!) But only stamps made after 1967 are still valid.
The only rule is that we can’t mix those lira stamps with euro stamps when sending internationally. Or all in Lira or all in Euro. (But inside Italy it’s allowed to mix)


In Germany, they’re not valid anymore.

1 Like

In Finland also, old markka postage is not valid anymore.
This can be hard, as the stamps don’t always tell the currency.
But during markka-times, we also had 1st class stamps, that still are worth the current 1 st class in Finland and can be used.

@Axolotl_, interesting that you didn’t get the mail from Postcrossing team, maybe it’s sent only when it’s forgotten several times.

1 Like

If I remember correctly, I read some time ago that there is no more info about it when the ID is forgotten. Unfortunately, I don’t remember where I read it.

As a matter of fact, I was not aware that this could happen. I do not encourage counterfeiting, but I don’t believe postcrossing is involved. If the postal services clerk chooses to cancel the stamp and send it, even by mistake, then the way I see it, it is not my problem. Personally, I never check the value of stamps. If someone’s national postal services choose to send it to me, then they are the ones to blame, not the sender.


I don’t agree. If someone is cheating their postal system to get more cards through Postcrossing, this behavior should be disencouraged. In many countries, no human will ever lay eyes on the posted items and machines make mistakes. So you can’t speak of choosing to deliver it.
This is also the official Postcrossing advise on this.

It’s also not fair to all the Postcrossers who use the correct postage and therefore may be able to send less cards.


Of course the sender is to blame, if she/he is the one doing something wrong.


If the card had a Polish ID, it was probably sent via this company which offers forwarding through Germany for Polish postcrossers (it’s much cheaper). Since the cards don’t get German postage and often also no cancellation, from what I have heard (I haven’t used this service personally), postcrossers will sometimes stick a low-value stamp on the card to have any stamp at all (so the cards look nicer). The postage is paid online to the forwarding company.