Supermarkets are being warned to ensure they use the latest printing technologies for items of value such as savings stamps or coupons in the wake of revelations that fake supermarket savings stamps are being sold online at discounted prices in the run up to Christmas.

Criminal gangs have created fake vouchers for Tesco, Morrisons and The Co-op.

The stamps are being made using sophisticated printing technology and feature real watermarks and stolen serial numbers, it was reported in the Daily Star Sunday newspaper this week.

Stamp prices are set at £1,000 for 10,000, £10,000 for 50,000, £50,000 for 100,000 and £100,000 for 500,000.

They are being sold on the ‘deep web’ and ‘dark web’, where information is ‘invisible’ to the mainstream public offering criminals the opportunity to conduct illicit deals.

Former criminal mastermind who now, as a reformed character, turned advisor to some of the world’s largest retailers, leisure industry and financial institutions, Tony Sales, said he had predicted a while ago that supermarkets would be scammed in this way.

“Some supermarkets wanted to put savings stamps on to loyalty cards but we warned them that access to those cards is really easy.”

Sales explained that creating fake savings stamps is not hugely complicated for someone in the forging business.

“Printing techniques that may have seemed sophisticated a couple of years ago are not so much now since it’s much easer to gain access to the software. Plus, the equipment you need to print these kinds of products is easily obtainable.”

Sales adds that: “Supermarkets need to make sure they use the latest technology for producing savings stamps to make them harder to fake”.