As humans, we may have been around for a while, but one thing that doesn't seem to be gone is fraud. There will always be people, with illicit motives, trying to take advantage of a widow or other vulnerable members of society,dada a chance.
Today we will talk about address fraud; a growing plague that is the main factor responsible for mail theft.
What is address fraud?
It is the illegal and unauthorized request to change someone's mailing address without their consent.
The way this works is that people with bad intentions complete aUSPS address changewithout the consent of the resident. Going to a post office in person is the easiest way for someone to pursue this form of identity theft. They will just completeform 1583and redirect all mail from your address to your address. This means that all your credit card information, your social security number (etc.) is now in your hands to use as you see fit.
What is troubling is how easily someone can request a change of address without your knowledge. Basically, all they need is your name and mailing address; they will take care of the rest...
The good news is that the only way someone can successfully complete an address change without being notified is offline. So there is no way anyone in the entire world can complete this process outside of their computer. This is because of the $1 verification fee that will allow the USPS website to verify your information and bank account.
The statistics are worrying; more than 700 address changes made each year arefraudulent🇧🇷 What is more concerning than this is the fact that the number of address fraud complaints filed each year is just over 17,000. Clearly, the difficulty of tracking such activity is quite high.
Why would someone use your mailing address?
At first glance, it might not seem like a big problem. After all, who uses snail mail in 2020... right?
All your government paperwork (includingavisos do IRS,) arrive by mail. So while you may receive your bank statements online, chances are you'll also receive some form of banking information in the mail. Often this information will include your social security number, passport information, etc. (to name a few). Other information would include health care statements (including Medicare).
This information can be used to change your financial information, subscribe to unwanted credit cards, and charge you for services you didn't use. Essentially, they gain full control of your identity and can act as they please under your name.
How can I tell if someone has changed my mailing address?
Fraudulent change of address can be distressing. But it's a little hard to know if this has happened to you. So let's take a look at some of the ways you can find out if you've been a victim of change of address fraud.
Typically, the USPS will send verification letters with each change of address request to confirm that a resident has actually completed the request. These change validation notices can help you avoid approval of your change of address if you didn't request it. In case you receive such a letter, be sure to contact yourlocal post officeto let them know!
Another good way to tell if your address has changed is if you stop receiving mail. Since an address change has been completed, this means that you are no longer receiving mail in your mailbox. If you start noticing this, chances are someone has completed a change of address on your behalf. Similar suspicious activity, such as changing your current credit card billing address or new account registration notifications (credit cards, loyalty programs, etc.) could be signs that you've been a victim of driving fraud.
If no suspicious activity is taking place (as noted above), you can still check postal records and look up the address you are with. If you need to contact the customer service phone number, call (800) ASK-USPS.
Is it illegal for someone to use your mailing address?
Technically, it's not explicitly illegal for someone to use your address. However, using an email address without permission, or using it as yours when it is not, could be considered address fraud. In some states, this would result in arrest!
That said, they have to causedano.
What do we mean by that? Well, if someone is illegally forwarding mail with your address, it could be because they're trying to dodge some taxes or they want to get their kids into a better public school. This is the damage caused by email forwarding scams. Sometimes people even use your address because they need to "prove" they have residency.
What to do if someone is fraudulently using your home address
Being a victim of address fraud essentially means that you become a victim of mail theft, identity theft, and all kinds of financial crimes. Solving a problem like this is not something to be taken lightly.
Unfortunately, while the post office is able to detect whether or not an address change has been completed, they won't be able to do much to identify which address your mailing address has changed to, nor will they be able to do anything. about this. To deal with this situation, you will want to contact thePostal Inspection Serviceand they would be better suited to deal with your situation.
How do I stop someone from using my address?
If you constantly receive letters, parcels and packages addressed to someone else or you are 100% sure that someone is fraudulently forwarding mail with your address, there are things you can do. Let's take a look at the options you have.
Intelligent? Let's get into the details.
First, you must write "not at this address" or "return to sender" on all letters and packages you falsely receive. Then, you will have to leave them in your mailbox for the postman to pick up. Alternatively, you can hand them to the postman if you manage to pick them up the next day. When youDoesconsult the postman, indicate that the recipient of the mail does not live at home.
Second, donoOpen any renewal notices or other government notices that come to your home addressed to the man or woman who uses your address. Contact whoever is sending the letters (the number or address will usually be on the back of the envelope) and let them know that the recipient does not live with you.
The next step, if you continue to receive spam, is to visit the nearest US Postal Service office to file a complaint. They must be able to prevent packages, parcels and letters from persisting.
Alternatively, if you believe you have fallen victim to change of address scams, contact the US Postal Inspection Service. The number is (877) 876-2455 or you canClick hereto complete the report online. You will need to provide the following information:
- Company name (optional)
- First name
- Last name
- Address including city, state, zip code and country
- Cell phone (optional)
- Business phone (optional)
- Email address (optional)
- age group
- If you are a veteran or not
- Information of the person or company you are registering against (if known)
- the contact method
- when they contacted you
- If you still have the envelope
- how did you answer
- If you sent the reply to a different address
- Whether or not you have a tracking number
- what did you get
- Was there money involved?
- Was the money lost?
- What category of fraud scheme are you in (charity fraud, sweepstakes, harassment, educational fraud, employment fraud, false invoice, etc.)
- Outline type (options differ depending on the chosen category)
- Any additional information
For many people, this turned out to be a bit when their minds are full of fake USPS change of address scams and illegal activities. So the optional phone call might be better for you.
Finally, if you notice someone using your address as proof of residency, insurance or driver's license, contact the police. We strongly recommend that you use a non-emergency number such astechnicallythis isnoan emergency (even if it seems like it to you). They will be able to inform your state's laws and determine if someone is committing a crime or not.
How to report someone fraudulently using their address
Calling your local post office won't do much to help you report the person or entity using your address illegally. To do this, you will need to call the United States Postal Inspection Service. You can find the number in the section above, as well as the information you will need to provide if you choose to complete the form online.
The more information you give them, the better they can track down the culprit. In addition, we suggest that you also have any credit card information or sensitive data breaches related to this incident at hand.
How to avoid address fraud
There are a few ways to avoid falling victim to address fraud. Although you may be able toBestways, but we found that our tips workedcrazyAmount. You are curious? We bet you are! Don't worry, we're going to spill all our secrets now.
For starters, you need to be very careful who you share your information with. While you can't eliminate the fact that some people will know where you live, you should implement the following steps to hide it as best you can.
- Do not share your home addressanywhereBy now, every Internet user knows that whatever you post, millions of people can search, find and view it. You maythinkthe information is somewhat protected, but in reality it is not.
- Only share your address with close friends and family.
- Use a temporary email address. Sometimes companies ask you to enter your email address for registrations or purchases. This caneasilylink to your home address. To combat this, you can go to sites like mailinator.com to purchase a disposable email address that will help protect your identity.
- Last but the best option is to get a virtual mailbox! Let's talk about it now; trust us, it's important.
The best solution
The only way to avoid being a victim of address fraud with 100% certainty is to not receive any mail; something that is impossible.
Or is that...?
More and more people are switching tovirtual mailboxsolutions Whether due tosecurity concernsWhether it's the convenience or the fact that a virtual mailbox typically costs half as much as it does to maintain a physical mailbox, the digital mailbox revolution is underway.
The way virtual mailboxes work is that all incoming messages are forwarded to a secure storage processing facility. From there it is scanned and sent to a Gmail-like inbox. You can label all your documents and access them on demand 24/7. Additional features often include mail shredding (for documents with sensitive information), check deposits, andShipping🇧🇷 Due to the volume of mail that courier companies handle, they often offer up to 80% off retail shipping rates.
What to do with mail that isn't yours? ›
If you're not sure what to do with mail that isn't yours, it's probably easier than you think to get rid of it legally. All you need to do is write “RETURN TO SENDER” on the front of the envelope and put it back in your mailbox. Your postal worker will take care of it for you from there.How do I cancel a change of address? ›
To modify or cancel your Change of Address (COA) online, you must know your new ZIP Code and have the Confirmation Code you received when you placed the COA order. Go to https://managemymove.usps.com/. In the corresponding fields, enter your new ZIP Code and the Confirmation Code. Click Submit.What can someone do with my address? ›
Anyone can buy services with your address and charge them to you. Plus, they can also sign up for other things such as credit cards or online accounts that you did not authorize.How do you return mail to someone who doesn't live here? ›
- Write "Not at this address" on mailpiece.
- Don't erase or mark over the address.
- Provide the mailpiece to your mailperson or drop into a Collection Box receptacle.
While you're not allowed to destroy or throw away mail that doesn't belong to you, you're also under no obligation to go out of your way to return it. You can mark the letters to be sent back (see below), but even that's optional. It's perfectly legal to hold on to the letters until someone comes looking for them.Can I keep mail delivered to me by mistake? ›
When you receive a mistaken delivery, call customer service for the delivery company and explain the situation. Give them the tracking number on the package, as well as the name and address on the package if it's different from yours. The company will come and pick up the product within a reasonable time frame.Does USPS notify anyone of address change? ›
Does the post office notify senders of mail my new address? If you ask the post office for the address service requested on the envelope, they will notify the sender's new address for one year.Does USPS notify senders of address change? ›
No. USPS does not notify your correspondents of a temporary address change. If you file a permanent change of address, mailers who endorse their mail “Address Service Requested” or “Do Not Forward” will be notified of your new address. Mailers of periodicals are also notified of new permanent addresses.Does USPS keep record of change of address? ›
National change-of-address and mail forwarding records are retained 4 years from the effective date. Delivery units access COA records from the Change-Of-Address Reporting System (COARS) database, which retains 2 years of information from the COA effective date.Can someone open a bank account in my name? ›
If someone does manage to steal your identity they could open bank accounts, obtain credit cards or loans, take out mobile phone contracts or buy things in your name. They could even apply for passports or driving licences, potentially doing even more damage to your finances and your credit rating.
Why am I getting mail for someone else at my address? ›
Most of the time, if you're getting mail intended for someone else it's for one of two reasons: (1) it's for a neighbor and your postal carrier made a mistake, or (2) it's for the previous tenant or homeowner who lived at your address.What info does someone need to steal your identity? ›
What they want are account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, and other confidential information that they can use to loot your checking account or run up bills on your credit cards. Identity thieves can take out loans or obtain credit cards and even driver's licenses in your name.Does Return to sender work? ›
With return to sender, a mail carrier will pick up the mail item, whether it's delivered to the wrong address or person or rejected, and send it back to the sender.Is it illegal to throw away mail that isn't yours USA? ›
Yes. It is a federal crime to open or destroy mail that is not intended for you. The law provides that you can not "destroy, hide, open, or embezzle" mail that is not addressed to you. If you intentionally open or destroy someone else's mail, you are committing obstruction of correspondence, which is a felony.Can you refuse mail and send it back? ›
After delivery, an addressee may mark a piece of mail “Refused” and return it within a reasonable time if the mail or any attachment is not opened, except for mail listed in 611.1c(1) and 611.1c(2). Mail that may not be refused and returned unopened under this provision may be returned to the sender only if enclosed in ...Can I open mail with my address but not my name? ›
“A federal statute known as 18 USC Section 1702 makes it illegal to open correspondence addressed to someone else. However, the law cannot be applied if you did not recognize that the mail was not yours when you opened it.Who is responsible for package delivered to wrong address? ›
The short answer is: The seller, which means you, the business owner. Obviously, if you printed the wrong address on the shipping label, didn't include a return address, or poorly packaged the item, it's 100% on you to compensate the customer with a new shipment or a refund.Can someone reroute your mail? ›
Because the United States Postal Service requires no documentation for a change of address, con artists can change your mailing address without you realizing it. Anyone can walk into any U.S. post office and complete a change of address (COA) form to reroute your mail.What if I receive a package with my address but different name? ›
By the law you are not allowed to keep it because of it being someone else's name. You have to either physically take it to the post office and let them know that person doesn't live at your address. Or have it sent out with a note stating said name doesn't reside there.How long does USPS honor change of address? ›
Standard mail forwarding lasts 12 months. You can pay to extend mail forwarding for 6, 12, or 18 more months (18 months is the maximum). To purchase Extended Mail Forwarding, you can add it when you first submit your change-of-address request or if you later edit your request.
How does USPS know your address? ›
In order for an address to be recognized by the USPS, it must match a corresponding address within the official USPS database which you are able to access by visiting USPS APIs. This address is set up, monitored, and cleaned out (or added to) by the US government on a regular basis.What information does a scammer need to access my bank account? ›
The easiest way to become a victim of a bank scam is to share your banking info — e.g., account numbers, PIN codes, social security number — with someone you don't know well and trust. If someone asks for sensitive banking details, proceed with caution.How do I know if someone has stolen my identity? ›
- Track what bills you owe and when they're due. If you stop getting a bill, that could be a sign that someone changed your billing address.
- Review your bills. ...
- Check your bank account statement. ...
- Get and review your credit reports.
Because there is no consumer victim to report a stolen identity, accounts opened by synthetic identities often go undetected.What are 2 things you should do if your identity is stolen? ›
Explain that someone stole your identity and ask them to close or freeze the compromised account. Contact any of the three credit reporting agencies and ask that a free fraud alert be placed on your credit report. Also ask for a free credit report.What are the 3 actions Someone must take if their identity is stolen? ›
Here are steps to take if your identity is stolen: Notify the company or agency that issued your stolen credentials. Put a freeze or fraud alert on your credit. Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission.What are 3 ways someone can steal your identity? ›
- Phishing. Scammers often use phishing emails to trick victims into providing personal or financial information. ...
- Smishing. ...
- Vishing. ...
- Fake Websites. ...
- Impersonation Scams or Confidence Fraud. ...
- Data Breaches. ...
- Skimming. ...
- Public Wi-Fi and USB Charging Stations.
For this reason, we ask that any returned mail, upon being mailed again, be enclosed in a separate (new) envelope with new postage to ensure prompt processing. This also helps to avoid mail being returned to the sender a second time.Does USPS charge for return to sender? ›
All insured First-Class Mail, First-Class Package Service — Retail, First-Class Package Service — Commercial, and Priority Mail, pieces are forwarded and returned at no additional charge. All insured USPS Marketing Mail, USPS Retail Ground, Package Services, and Parcel Select pieces are forwarded or returned.Do companies get charged for return to sender? ›
According to the report, returned mail can cost businesses up to $25 per returned item, which includes the additional effort required to correct the mistake and resend the item.
What to do if someone else's mail keeps coming to your house? ›
- Write or Put Sticky Notes on the Envelope. ...
- Useful Method – Cross Out the Barcode. ...
- Put a Sticky Note on Your Mailbox. ...
- Speak to Your Mail Carrier. ...
- File a Complaint with the Postmaster. ...
- Don't Throw It Away. ...
- Don't Open the Mail. ...
- Don't Fill Out a Change of Address.
Yes. It is a federal crime to open or destroy mail that is not intended for you. The law provides that you can not "destroy, hide, open, or embezzle" mail that is not addressed to you. If you intentionally open or destroy someone else's mail, you are committing obstruction of correspondence, which is a felony.Can you destroy someone else's mail? ›
While it may be tempting to shred or throw away this mail, doing so may constitute a felony. Obstruction of correspondence is a federal criminal offense. Upon conviction, you may face up to five years in prison for destroying someone else's mail.Can you open mail addressed to your house but not your name? ›
Is it a federal crime to open someone else's mail? The short answer is “yes.” Opening or destroying mail that is addressed to someone else is a crime called “Obstruction of Correspondence.” It is a serious felony that could lead to prison time.How do you remove someone from your address? ›
Speak to your personal postal carrier or the local post office about the problem and ask that they please stop previous resident's mail that arrives in your mailbox. Give your mail carrier some of the mail you have written "Not at this address" on.