Hacking your mail: Thieves may be diverting packages meant for your porch
(KUTV) — Moving is a hassle — mostly.
One thing that tends to be pretty simple: updating your address with the U.S. Postal Service. Simply go online, fill out your old address and your new address, pay $1 using your credit card so they know it’s really you — and voila!
But Get Gephardt got the call because it seems this simple system has become a target of thieves.
Jennifer Bjorn says she thought it was strange when she got a letter in the mail saying she'd updated her address online. She's lived in her Tremonton home for more than a decade.
Stranger still, when Jennifer tried to use her credit card a few hours later, it was declined.
She called her bank and says she was told she had called in to report the card lost or stolen and the bank mailed her a new card.
“I instantly connected the two," she said.
That new credit card was being sent to a new address, and it was not Jennifer's address.
Jennifer says she instantly reported the crime to the USPS, but the agency was super slow to act.
"It was at least 10 days later,” she said. “So in the meantime, all my mail was being forwarded to Miami, Florida and the post office couldn't stop it."
Jennifer's not alone.
Doug Gardner fixes up motorcycles and bikes, and his Tremonton address was also changed without warning.
Because he regularly receives really expensive gear in the mail, Doug pays extra close attention to his items being shipped. In fact, he says he noticed one of his packages had been diverted to Texas before he even got the letter from the post office telling him his address had been changed.
Still, he says he's frustrated that some of his packages were still sent out for delivery by the USPS, even after he'd reported the fraud.
"I don't know why they didn’t stop those,” he said.
In a statement to Get Gephardt, a spokesperson for the USPS downplayed the problem, writing it processes "more than 37 million" address changes a year and "less than 1/10 of 1 percent" are bogus.
As for someone who is a victim of fraud, they should "call 800-ASK-USPS or visit their local post office to have the change request reversed," the spokesperson said.
That is, of course, exactly what Jennifer and Doug did. The USPS acknowledged their cases should have been handled better.
The spokesperson wrote that the USPS "apologized," specifically for the "administrative delay in reversing the change of address."
The US Postal Inspector tells Get Gephardt it is currently investigating and working to bring the perpetrators of this fraud to justice.