New Yorkers Warned of Thieves Stealing Identities Through USPS
Thieves keep finding new ways to steal identities and the latest scam that New Yorkers are being warned of involves the United States Postal Service.
My husband and I bought a new house and we were anxious to change our address immediately to make sure that all mail found its way to the proper place, but the process of changing our address involved more steps compared to the last time that we moved, but when we learned why, we appreciated those extra steps.
Anyone who has ever moved has filled out a Change of Address form either at their local United States Post Office or online and until now, the process has been a piece of cake.
In order for a person to change their address with the United States Postal Service, an individual needs to provide their name, address, and signature or, if submitting the Change of Address request online, a valid credit or debit card and a valid email address which the USPS uses as a way to verify a person’s identity, charging the card $1.10 for the change of address.
After a person fills out the Change of Address form, the USPS sends a notice that confirms the change of address and if the form is incorrect because the Change of Address was processed by a thief and a person doesn’t address it right away, the change is finalized even though it’s wrong.
The USPS is aware of this scam and on its website, it is addressing the issue.
The U.S. Postal Service is enhancing security protocols surrounding its Change of Address (COA) service by implementing additional identity verification methods. These enhancements are designed to address global identity theft concerns, and to protect our customers' information. The Change of Address service remains simple and convenient to use. It can be completed in a few steps, online at USPS.com, or by visiting one of more than 33,000 local Post Office locations.
When a scammer fills out a Change of Address form and the victim doesn't do anything about it is when everything goes downhill quickly. It’s easy to see a piece of mail from the USPS and think that it’s junk mail and overlook it which is why before you ever do anything like that, you should really read what’s in your mailbox. If you receive a Change of Address notification and didn't request it or if you receive one and the new address is incorrect, you need to contact the USPS immediately.
Another way that you can protect yourself from scammers is to watch your mailbox following your move. If you generally get mail every few days but go several days without getting any, you will want to reach out to your local post office where they can help you figure out whether or not you’ve been the victim of identity theft. Remember though, if you didn't fill out a Change of Address request, your mail will continue to go to your old address.
Also, and this is very important, you need to keep a close eye on your credit report and credit card statements and if you find anything that doesn’t make sense and you believe that it’s a direct result of changing your address with the USPS, you’ll want to call the Postal Inspectors at 1-877-876-2455. Calls are accepted between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Also contacted should be the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-ID-THEFT (877-438-4338).