Royal Mail is to temporarily waive £5 penalties for members of the public to collect post with counterfeit stamps as it introduces measures to tackle the problem.

The company announced it is developing a new counterfeit stamp scanner in the Royal Mail app to allow customers to scan stamp barcodes and check whether it is a recognised counterfeit.

In the meantime, it is to temporarily pause the collection of the £5 surcharge for those who receive post with a counterfeit stamp.

Stickers will be applied to items to advise the recipient that the stamp used has scanned as counterfeit.

At the same time, the firm will increase efforts to charge the sender of items posted with a counterfeit stamp, rather than the recipient, wherever possible, it said.

It is also to introduce a new independent expert to its “highly trained team of specialists” to verify whether a stamp is genuine, as part of an escalation process for customer complaints.

The decision will be fully independent of Royal Mail and the judgment binding.

The firm said it will also be increasing its partnerships with retailers and online marketplaces to jointly stop the sale of counterfeit stamps.

Royal Mail chief commercial officer Nick Landon said: “The combination of new barcoded stamps with added security features and Royal Mail actively working with retailers, online marketplaces and law enforcement authorities, has led to a 90% reduction in counterfeit stamps.

“We want our customers to buy stamps with confidence and always recommend that customers only purchase stamps from post offices and other reputable high street retailers, and not to buy stamps online – unless from the official Royal Mail shop.”

Earlier this month, The Daily Telegraph reported that China was allegedly flooding Britain with counterfeit Royal Mail stamps.

The newspaper reported that sources close to Royal Mail said fakes from the Asian country were causing a rise in complaints that stamps bought from legitimate stores were being deemed fraudulent, which can result in the £5 penalty.

The newspaper identified four Chinese suppliers offering to print up to one million counterfeit Royal Mail stamps a week, to be sold for as little as 4p each ahead of delivery to Britain.

The fakes had also been found on Amazon and eBay and websites copying the Royal Mail official store, the newspaper said.

The Telegraph understood the stamps were being bought unknowingly by small retailers, who are allowed to buy stamps from wholesalers rather than from Royal Mail directly.

The Times reported that a spokesman from the Chinese embassy in London called the claims “absurd”.