Changing Addresses? Avoid Unofficial Postal Service Websites - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Changing Addresses? Avoid Unofficial Postal Service Websites

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If you plan on moving, you might head to the internet to change your mailing address.

But you'll want to double check to make sure you're actually on the official Postal Service website, https://www.usps.com/

Complaints have been coming in from people who think they're working with the Post Office online to change their mailing address.  Instead, they're on unofficial sites getting hit with unnecessary extra fees.

"Consumers are being scammed $10, $15, maybe $30 for changing their address online," said Paul Krenn, U.S. Postal Inspector.

The sites are charging 15 to 30 times the real cost.
 
"The Postal Service provides this service either free of charge through the local post office, or for a dollar online," said Krenn.

Postal inspectors say the problem is that some websites are misrepresenting themselves.

"Commercial websites that purport to have some sort of relationship with the Postal Service but they do not," said Krenn.

Consumers give these sites their new address and credit card information for the change of address service.  Some people complain they're continuing to be charged for extra services they never wanted. Some said the change of address was never done.

"It's interesting, but the victims in this scam often call the Postal Service to help them resolve the issue, when unfortunately there is nothing the Postal Service can do, at that point, to stop the subscription charges or correct the error," said Krenn.

Scambook, an online complaint platform, has received more than 300 complaints about these sites from consumers in the last month.

Postal inspectors say if you are moving, there are few simple guidelines.

  • Log on to moversguide.usps.com or pick up a moving kit at the post office.
  • If you submit a change of address through the Post Office online, there is a required $1 verification fee.
  • Going to the Post Office is free of charge.

"If they're dealing with financial institutions, medical providers or insurance carriers they should change their address directly to those providers to insure they are getting the correct information in a timely manner," said Krenn.

Postal inspectors encourage you to report frauds like this.  You can do so by logging on to postalinspectors.uspis.gov or by calling 877-876-2455 and selecting 3.

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