With many people moving during the summer months, scammers are exploiting this confusing time by offering unnecessary change of address services. Here is how you can avoid what could be a costly mistake.
A new scheme appears to be moving in just as many folks prepare to move out.
Paul Krenn, US Postal Inspector said, "Consumers are being scammed $10, $15, maybe $30 for changing their address online."
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.
Krenn said, "Commercial websites that purport to have some sort of relationship with the postal service but they do not."
So consumers give these sites their new address and credit card information for the change of address service. Some consumers 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," Krenn said.
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.
First log on to moversguide.usps.com
or simply visit your local postal office and pick up a moving kit. If you submit a change of address through the post office there is a required $1 verification free.
However, if you go to the post office the service is free.
Krenn also says, "If they are 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."
Anyone with information about scams or frauds like this one should contact the US Postal Inspectors at postalinspectors.uspis.gov
or call 877-876-2455 and select three.
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