The U.S. Postal Service is warning the public about an identity theft scheme involving criminals changing the mail address of unsuspecting victims in order to access their mail.
Jim Lawler said that’s how an identity thief attempted to gain access to his investment accounts and activate a credit card.
“It scared me,” Lawler said. “It is like this guy is really going after it.”
Lawler said the first sign of trouble arrived in January with a change of address notice form the post office – even though Lawler says he never changed his address.
In Pasco County, Liliana Abreu also discovered someone stole her husband’s identity after the couple’s mail went missing too.
“Apparently there was another address in the system,” said Abreu.
We uncovered identity thieves filed to changed these victims’ addresses and re-rerouted their mail to intercept their personal information.
The U.S. Postal Service sends a notice to both an old and new house after a customer requests to change a mailing address, but the victims don’t always get notified before the damage is done.
U.S. Postal Inspector Damien Kraebel said stolen mail can be a treasure trove for the bad guys.
“They get financial information, they get government records,” said Kraebel, who told ABC Action News he is aware of this scam.
While there’s no way to bulletproof yourself from identity theft, experts recommend consumers take the following steps:
- Place a free security freeze on your credit with all three credit bureaus so thieves can’t open a line of credit in your name
- Check your free credit report every year to check for any discrepancies at www.annualcreditreport.com
- If you receive a change of address notice, contact the post office immediately