I-TEAM INVESTIGATION: Thieves using change of address scam
(WFSB) - The I-Team is uncovering a shockingly easy scam that opens all of us up to identity theft or fraud.
It’s centered around the postal service’s “Change of Address” forms.
Chief investigative reporter Matthew Campbell shows how thieves exploited it to get a Waterbury woman’s mail and how they can do it to you.
I’m here on the USPS website.
As long as I have your current address and $1.10, from the comfort of my desk, I can reroute your mail to anywhere else in the United States.
Barbara Veneziano has lived at a Waterbury apartment complex for 21 years.
Life was normal until she stopped getting mail.
“AARP Magazine, the newspaper, nothing was there,” Barbara said.
For two weeks, she’d check her mailbox, and nothing would be inside.
She called the Waterbury post office to investigate.
“Someone changed my address,” Barbara said.
Her bills, medical statements, work related documents, all very private info, was re-routed across the country.
“San Diego, California,” said Barbara.
To this address: 3455 Kearny Villa Road, even though Barbara has no connection to San Diego.
“I was like, ‘oh my God, how did they do that?’” she said.
The answer is shockingly simple.
The postal service wants to make it as easy as possible to change your address when you move.
You fill out your current address, your new address and the date you want your mail to be rerouted.
You pay $1.10, sign a document saying you’re not lying about who you are, and you’re done.
“You pay like $1.10, go online and you can prank somebody if you want to,” Barbara said.
Whoever filled out the change of address form wanted to do more than just prank Barbara, because nearly simultaneously Barbara’s credit monitoring service alerted her that someone applied for a First Premier credit card using her name.
“I said I never asked for you to give me a credit card. They said somebody did and it was a California address,” she said.
The card was canceled before anyone charged anything to it.
“I know there’s fraud out there. I didn’t think I was going to get frauded,” said Barbara.
Barbara is now getting mail regularly, but it’s still delayed.
“It goes to California and then it comes back to Waterbury and to me,” she said.
The USPS investigation remains open.
They tell the I-team to prevent fraud, when a change of address is requested, they send a: “Move Validation Letter that goes to the old address. The customer is asked to review the information and report any incorrect or fraudulent information.”
“Everything has sensitive information, yet some fraudster on the other side is getting my information,” said Barbara.
If scammers are caught, they can face fines or prison time.
In the meantime, if this happens to you, let the postal service know, they’ll cancel mail immediately and re-route it back to your current address.
You’re also urged to do what Barbara did and check your credit report to make sure no one opened accounts in your name.
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