Change-of-Address Scams: Why Scammers Want to Steal Your Mail and How You Can Avoid Themhttps://www.smartsoftdq.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/shutterstock_1233205303.jpg 1000 529 Jeremy Riley Jeremy Riley https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/83b715ae8d0f4ea31e0cdfea959d1427?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Why Did USPS Charge Me $60 (or $40) to Change Addresses?
When moving to a new address, it’s wise to notify the US Postal Service through their change of address form. This process is easy to complete, requires identity verification, and costs only $1.10.
Unfortunately, identity thieves and other hackers have set up fraudulent web pages imitating authentic sites, such as the USPS’s change-of-address form page. These sites appear legitimate and can be easily mistaken for their verified counterparts.
In these change-of-address scams, the hackers acquire our personal information, ostensibly so they can complete the address change, and frequently charge a high rate for a service that should be almost free. Additionally, when we fill out their forms, we inadvertently give them access to your personal and sensitive information, enabling them to commit identity theft.
How Do I Know What Address USPS Has for Me?
If you’ve completed the change-of-address form and you’re not receiving mail at your new address, you can contact USPS to ensure they have the correct contact information.
USPS provides a convenient web page for viewing, editing, canceling, or extending change-of-address orders. If you’ve completed the form and have a confirmation code, you can check the status of your order here.
Alternatively, you can use this page to file a dispute if you’ve received a move validation letter without filling out the change-of-address form.
How to Spot a Change-of-Address Scam
There are several ways to spot a change-of-address scam.
- Check the URL. When searching for the USPS change-of-address form, steer clear of any website that is not usps.com.
- Check the price. USPS requires an email address and a debit or credit card so they can make a $1.10 charge, verifying the identity of the person completing the form. If the online form indicates any charge other than this amount, it’s not a legitimate website.
- Validation letter. Once USPS receives a request, they issue a change-of-address alert letter to the original mailing address. Therefore, receiving a validation letter when you have not made such a request is a red flag that an identity thief has completed the official form on your behalf. Similarly, if you’ve made a request and do not receive a validation letter, there is cause for concern.
- Mail stops coming. If you have not made a change-of-address request and your mail suddenly stops coming, a scam artist may have completed a fraudulent change of address.
How to Avoid a Change-of-Address Scam
You can protect yourself from change-of-address scams by taking some simple precautions.
- Use the official form. To request a mailing address change, you must use the legitimate USPS website (usps.com). Their official change-of-address form is the only place you should enter your personal information to update your address.
- Don’t click on unknown links. Scammers send links via email and text messages that, if clicked, install malware on our computers and phones. Don’t click if there’s any uncertainty about the sender’s identity or the link. Instead, contact USPS directly to be safe.
- Contact USPS and financial institutions. If there’s any sign that a change-of-address scam has taken place, such as an unexpected (or missing) validation letter, suspicious activity on bank statements, or alerts that new accounts have been opened in your name, you need to contact USPS and your financial institutions immediately.
By staying on top of our mail and watching for suspicious activity, we have a better chance of avoiding change-of-address scams. For more resources for secure mail management, check out Smart Soft DQ’s Certified Address and Postal Software.