Thieves using change of address form to steal your mail

Action Line

Thieves are apparently stealing mail by turning in a change of address form.

It happened to a Pearl City woman, who turned to our Action Line wanting the U.S. Postal Service to do more to prevent it.

A spokesman for the post office says an official identification is required when you turn in a change of address form. But Kristen Savea says that didn’t happen. She did have to provide an ID to change it back to her real address.

Savea received a change of address notice in her mailbox two weeks ago. It does say, “Open immediately. Do not discard.” But the back side of it looks like a lot of other junk mail we all get. With six kids to take care of, she says she didn’t realize there was that sense of urgency.

“Between homework and showers and dishes and everything else, the mail is just kind of, I’ll get to it when I get to it,” she said.

She opened it a week later and after calling the post office, she learned that someone had diverted her mail to a mainland address.

She was told that it was initially done online and then in person by someone who forged her signature, and no ID was needed. But to get her mail back to the right address, she had to show her ID.

“And that’s something that, it just blew my mind because how can a government entity such as the U.S. Postal Service have such ancient security policies?” Savea said.

A post office spokesman says “The Postal Service requires its customers to show proper identification to change their address… A copy of the request is sent to both the old and new address.”

We also checked with a worker here at the post office who says they normally check your ID if they don’t know you. But here’s the thing, if you mail the change of address form, he says there’s no way to check your ID.

For added protection the spokesman says, “Customers are encouraged to monitor the receipt of their mail by subscribing to the Postal Service’s Informed Delivery.” It’s a free service that allows consumers to manage incoming mail.

Here’s the link:
http://www.informeddelivery.usps.com

Savea’s advice, check your mail carefully at all times.

“If you receive a pamphlet that says anything about address change, immediately call your office because it’s probably already been activated, your mail is already going somewhere else,” she said.

Savea says the post office couldn’t tell her how much of her mail was sent to the other address. So she had to take all the precautions against identity theft.

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