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USPS warns people to be aware of change of address scam, especially around holidays

Posted: 4:31 PM, Nov 27, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-28 19:22:56Z

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — It's a crime the U.S. Postal Service says you need to be aware of, especially this holiday season.

They can go to a store or do it online. All a criminal needs is your name and address to change where your mail is sent.

"It's just like any other crime," Ivan Ramirez said. "Crimes of opportunity, snatch and grabs or purse snatching."

But Ramirez, a USPS inspector, says there are steps you can take to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.

First, he suggests picking up your mail immediately or putting a lock on your mailbox, that way criminals don't have easy access to your personal information.

He also says sometimes criminals can track you through your online activity and will try to get access to your social security number.

"It's kind of like the individual's DNA and with that, that's usually what opens the door and the floodgates to unfortunate crime," he said.

If a criminal gets their hands on your information and files a change of address, the post office will send you a confirmation notification letter to validate the authenticity of the order.

Ramirez says in the cases they have dealt with, no one’s information was stolen and used in another crime.

"Fortunately we have not identified any crime that has been a direct result of a fraudulent change of address that has been to the level of danger for the customer or consumer, but we can see how this can potentially be of concern," he said. 

Ramirez says the change of address verification form could look like a piece of junk mail, so he stresses if you see any mail from the postal office, check it to be safe.