Investigators: Criminals Disguised as the Postal Service

By: Chad Silber Email
By: Chad Silber Email

"It's interesting, but the victims in this scam often call the postal service to help them resolve the issue, when unfortunately there is nothing the postal service can do at that point to stop the subscription charges or correct the error." -- U.S. Postal Inspector Paul Krenn

A new scheme appears to be moving in just as many people prepare to move out.

"Consumers are being scammed $10, $15, maybe $30 for changing their address online," said U.S. Postal Inspector Paul Krenn.

The sites are charging 15 to 30 times the real cost.

"The Postal Service provides this service either free of charge through the local post office or for a dollar online," said Krenn.

Investigators say the problem is that some websites are misrepresenting themselves. "Commercial websites that purport to have some sort of relationship with the postal service but they do not," said Krenn.

So, consumers give these sites their new address and credit card information for the change of address service.

Some consumers complain they're continuing to be charged for extra services they never wanted. Some said the change of address was never done.

"It's interesting, but the victims in this scam often call the postal service to help them resolve the issue, when unfortunately there is nothing the postal service can do at that point to stop the subscription charges or correct the error," said Krenn.

There are three easy pieces of advice to follow.

"You always want to do that through the U.S. Postal Service," said LPD Officer Erin Spilker. "You would never want to rely on an outside business or agency to do your change of address. Also, don't send your personal information in the mail to a company that you don't know about or aren't aware of."

"If they are dealing with financial institutions, medical providers or insurance carriers they should change their address directly to those providers to insure they are getting the correct information in a timely manner," added Krenn.

Anyone with information about scams or frauds like this one should contact the U.S. Postal Inspectors at postalinspectors.uspis.gov or call 877-876-2455.


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