USPS warns about ongoing change of address scam

USPS warns about ongoing change of address scam

By Greg Collier

Have you ever walked into a post office, saw the change of address forms, and wondered what’s stopping someone from changing my address and receiving all my mail? As it turns out, there’s not a lot stopping someone from doing just that.

The United States Postal Service has issued a warning about such a scam that appears to be ramping up just in time for the holidays. Just about anyone can go to the post office or the USPS website and change anyone’s mailing address. This time of year, the scammers could be receiving money and gifts meant for the holidays. For the rest of the year, the scammers could be gaining access to your personal and financial information to use for identity theft. Keep in mind that the USPS forwards mail to a new address for a year. That means, potentially, scammers and identity thieves could receive your mail for an entire year. Unfortunately, the USPS does not have many safeguards in place to prevent this from happening.

When someone does fill out a change of address form, the USPS sends a confirmation letter to the old address letting residents know that their mailing address is about to change. While you can check your mailbox every day, a lot of us aren’t home during the day, and scammers have been known to stalk their victims’ mailboxes and take what they need from the mailbox. If you haven’t received mail for an in ordinate amount of time, you should report that to the USPS right away.

A good way to possibly protect yourself from such fraud is to sign up for the USPS’s Informed Delivery service. It’s free, and every day you receive postal mail, you’ll receive an email with pictures of your scanned mail letting you know what to expect in that day’s mail. That way, you can see if a change of address letter has been sent to you before someone can take it from your mailbox.