EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — A warning tonight from the U.S Postal Service and area law enforcement to stay alert for a new scam that’s sweeping the nation. It’s a scam aimed at stealing your identity and your money.
It’s called the “change of address scam” investigators say people are being ripped off and they aren’t even aware it’s happening.
Investigators say the scammers use a basic change of address form to divert mail from your house to a location where they can access your mail and the contents inside. They can do that by obtaining a change of address form inside your local post office or by going online and filling out the same form.
State Police in Hazleton say they are getting calls from victims just about every day.
“They want sensitive information that leads to them getting money. They will get your money or get your address so they can receive things like Birthday cards, holiday cards, gift cards things like that where they can use it whatever they want,” said Trooper Anthony Petroski, Community Services Officer
Troopers say above and beyond that, they can steal your personal identity and possibly gain access to your financial accounts.
“Be wary if you aren’t receiving mail you thought you should be or you’re receiving stuff like credit cards you didn’t apply for. Look into it check your mail daily,” said Trooper Petroski.
“We have seen a large uptick in the number of fraudulent changes of addresses in the system,” said Lauren Fetch who is a Postal Inspector for USPS in Scranton.
Fetch says everyone should check their mail every day especially with the holiday rush upon us.
“Make sure you check your mail every day and if you see something from the postal service saying something about change of address make sure you open it as soon as possible. If it was a fraudulent change of address there should be information in that letter on what to do. But also recommend to go into local post office and say hey I got this change of address hey it wasn’t me it’s fraudulent,” said Fetch.
Postal Inspector Fetch says many people are receiving letters warning them about a possible change of address fraud but are not opening the envelope fearing that the letter is a scam. She said when in doubt take the letter to the local post office or give them a call.
Also, Fetch says at this point in time there is no way the postal service can verify who is sending in the change of address form she says they are working on a solution to that problem.
You can report any suspicious activity regarding mail to the United States Postal Service website.