Received pirated FOTW card through swap, what should I do?

Hello from Japan :wave:
Straight to the point, I think I’ve received a pirated/ scanned/ self-printed FOTW Hong Kong, with exactly the same design as the original one produced by postcardsmarket.
The image and writing is pixelated, obviously because of low resolution, and the size is slightly smaller.

Here’s the proof:
I don’t have an original FOTW Hong Kong, so I compare it with an original FOTW Japan that I bought from postcardsmarket.
The upper side is my FOTW Japan, the lower side is the pirated FOTW Hong Kong. You can see the difference in resolution and printing.

The size is also different. My original FOTW Japan (on the left) is slightly bigger than the pirated FOTW Hong Kong (on the right).

I just received it today, from direct swap (not tag or RR) I wonder what should I do. I haven’t send a hurray message yet to the sender. I wonder…

  • Did the sender make it by him/herself?
  • Did the sender buy it from someone else?

I share this to you all with the purpose of:

  1. Raise the awareness that there’s a pirated version of FOTW, particularly FOTW Hong Kong. Please be careful when you do a swap for that card.
  2. Asking your advice in what I need to do. Do I need to report this? If yes, to who (the admin, the postcardsmarket)? I don’t want anyone else to fall prey to the sender who sent this, or to get a pirated FOTW from someone else.
  3. Asking your advice about what to say to the sender. Shall I send the sender a hurray message that I got the card, and tell the sender that I am aware the card is not an original FOTW? Or shall I just let it be? The sender had sent me the hurray message that my card had been received.

FYI, I do have the ID of the sender, name and address, since it was a swap. The sender didn’t specify the gender, and had sent and received about more than 50 official cards.
The swap was for a card from Japan, exchange with any card of the sender’s offer and stamps of my choice.
The sender also offered MOTW Hong Kong, among with FOTW and other cards.

I did write that I don’t mind getting a self-printed card, in my profile. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t mind to get a scanned/ self-printed version of a card which is commercially available. I mean it by having creatively design a card or printing a picture you took, and made a postcard out of it.

I am sad that I got a pirated card, but sometimes bad things happen in life, including in Postcrossing. This is the first time for me to have such a bad experience in direct swap. I started joining the forum from late October 2021.

Please be aware, don’t fall prey to buy or receive pirated version of any postcards. :pray:


Hi Maria,

It’s my first time to hear that someone self-printed (?) a FOTW Hong Kong card.
I brought mine online from the original store and the package took two months to reach me all the way from Romania. I had also swapped a Japan one with another user here on the forum and maybe you can have a look at the cards:

The sizes are the same and the logo at the back:

Hope it helps and sorry to hear about that!


Given that there is a billion dollar market in illegal stamps which look exactly like the originals, I can imagine there are sellers out there who’ve pirated postcard series too.

And I can imagine that people might not know the difference if they ordered & received them.

You could let them know you think that’s what it is, but I wouldn’t assume they know about it or accuse them of sending a pirate copy. You just don’t know eh?


Thank you Chelsea :relaxed:
Yes, the FOTW series should be in the same size. All the postcards I bought from postcardsmarket are in the same size. I bought not only FOTW, but also national symbols and some other cards.
Indeed, it’s disturbing that there are pirated version of the series…:sweat:

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Yes Lynn, @LC-Canada. Thank you.
I thought the same as you. I wonder if the sender knows that he/she got a pirated version of FOTW. That is, if he/she bought it.
The sender may bought the cards, the sender may also made it.
I don’t know which one is the truth.
Shall I tell the sender that the card is not an original one? That’s one of my questions…


Well, like I said, I think you could tell them it’s not an original card but a copied one, but I wouldn’t make any assumptions beyond that.

There are legitimate re-sellers of series cards all over the world & the sender may have thought that’s who they were getting the cards from right?


Yes, that’s right.:blush: Thank you.

I hope no one else get the “not an original” FOTW. But I guess there’s nothing can be done to prevent it. 🤷


Sadly, there are giant industries set up just to illegally copy originals of many things whether it’s clothing, music, books & I guess now postcards. It sucks, but I guess it’s not surprising given the world these days.


Sad to hear your story.
I have received a strange Fotw Slovakia before,the frontal side is much lighter than my other Fotws.However,the letters on back side are clear😂I don’t mind that and let it go😂
I have to say there are some fake things made by companies here in China and Hong Kong,maybe you should be aware sometimes!
Good luck :four_leaf_clover::joy:


I have received a pirated HPC card once, but have only noted it after a while (didn’t know the series before). I would let them know if recognising upon arrival.

If in doubt I would contact postcardsmarket and let them decide. They are doing a great job and there is no room for fake cards in Postcrossing.


I also received a weird FOTW Slovakia… it was shiny rather than matt finish like the other FOTWs that I’ve received/sent. I thought maybe it’s an older version, so gave the benefit of the doubt to the user… but I like @gforp’s idea…

Edit: from conversation below, it looks like some batches from PostcardMarket are matt and others glossy finish, so my FOTW Slovakia looks genuine. The quality appears to be good and equivalent to my other cards :+1:


Funnily enough I recently received my first United in Diversity card from Belgium from an RR. Very soon after that, I received the exact same card through official postcrossing. Except upon closer inspection they weren’t the exact same…

Firstly, on the front they had different finishes and the quality of the images was slightly different. Then, on the back, the first one I received was plain white whereas the second one had the European Union flag background (exatly as it shown on Postcards Market here: EU - United in Diversity - Belgique_05| Postcards Market). The first one had no boxes for the postcard ID, lines for the address or the ‘05 - Belgium. European Union - United in Diversity Series’ either. It does however have a bit of text listing the Corporate Authors and Private Authors.

That was when I realised the first one I’d received was not from Postcards Market, but I also didn’t know if other people sell them (e.g. perhaps the original artist/creator of the series has their own shop where they sell them too?).

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There’s still a chance they don’t know their cards are fake, so I would tell and ask. It would be good for them to know so they wouldn’t buy those cards from the same place again. But if they made those cards themselves, then it would be a good warning that people know those cards are fake…

I once received a GF France which was so bad copy that I couldn’t do anything but laugh… It was an official card but I didn’t report of it or anything else, it’s in my received cards if someone wants to see it, sent from France. They aren’t even that expensive so I wonder why people bother to make fakes :confused:


@mihneaR Take a look!

I bought a batch from a large company recently and some weren’t printed quite right on the back / had slipped ? I didn’t make fuss _ didn’t want the environmental impact of returning & reprinting etc.
A bit of washi tape hides…
Hadn’t thought people might think they are fake ?.

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The United in Diversity cards were published before postcardsmarket had them if I remember correctly (as EU map cards or something similar).


Hello everybody! I am really happy seing such a big interes about our cards, yet, I am so unhappy seeing that those cards are still swaped without having them from original. Till now - from the begining of this series back in 2015, a lot of fake ones appear; first was the China Flag, taken only the idea not the whole image, because in that moment China FOTW was not even printed by us (See photo 1 - it was received by me, on another platform). After that a lot of self made FOTW appears - from Algeria, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Morocco, and the last one that we found was IRAQ, The guy from Iraq says that is about his flag and his country, and we can not argue with that. Evere 2-3 months we receive a signal that somebody make their “self-printed” postcards with our designs, (mostly Flags and MOTW, but I will not be surprised that maybe Titina or some others will be made). For instance - for Titina series we pay the designs to the designer (as well for MOTW’s) - The FOTW series being designed by my associate George Nazareanu. The flags are not copyrighted, therefore neither us we can not protect with copyright our designs. Only fact that we can do is to advice the people who receive such cards to tell/ advice the sender not to use that way of selfprinting cards. Despite low quality that result from self-printing, also there is about happiness/unhappiness of the receiver who feels somehow cheated. In the same time, as said before, we are quite happy seeing such big interes given to our cards (as you all know - famous brands like Adidas, Nike or you name it - are usually pirated - mostly because they are well known brands - That means our flag series become quite famous…right? :slight_smile: ) ; Before starting our small business selling postcards we saw a lot (hudrends) of fake GF’s (self printed with original image, or make by themselves with their own image/ artwork). This is a fact, and unfortunatelly we can do more than advicing people to talk with the sender and somehow explaing that the entire work and as well the cost for advertising are supported by somebody - respectively (in our case) by postcardsmarket.
About United in diversity: those designs are made by EU - with educational purpose - and they are available for download for free; we never claimed that we are the owner of the “originals” - as you can see on our site - in description of each product from this series: “This product is not original. The product has not been endorsed, licensed or sanctioned by the subject or their estate. As this product clearly states it is not officially endorsed, licensed or sanctioned, it cannot be said to constitute “passing off” or to be unfairly competitive.”
We print that series to give the opportunity for a better quality of postcards, in order to offer the collectors a solution with a high quality of the cards; that is the main reason while the postcardsmarket logo is not printed on the back of the postcards, and also it is the same reason why there’s are so many variants for the UID series.
I am sorry for my long message, but I feel that I must explain somehow what is happening, Those being said, I can only wish each reader/ postcrosser to have their mailbox full of happiness, and as our motto says - may our postcards to “bring sunshine in every maibox”. And, considering as well the times that we live now, only smiling remain an important resource for our mental health, to be opthimistic and positive (attitude, not something else :wink: )

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I have about a collection of 60 FOTW postcards of various countries. I’ve notice that some have a gloss finish and others a matt finish, all though are the same size. Just different batches off the print.

I’ll have to check my HK ones, to my understanding, all of the transparent maps on the reverse should be on the writing side of the postcard, so the HK one above looks like a fake (apart from the size and poor print)

About glossy vs matte finish: we had in the past some countries with glossy flags printed, was an error from our printing company, but that error did not affect the quality of the cards; even more who have items from that batch can be considered somehow “lucky” because they own now… rare items :wink: