Scammers are creating fake change-of-address websites posing as the United States Postal Service.
Scammers are creating websites that look like the United States Postal Service site while tricking consumers into paying for no service at all.
In the majority of these cases, the scammers get away with your money and your address is left unchanged.
Chris Babin, Business Administration Manager with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “So, when you get online to change your address, you go to a website that might not be a legitimate website, and when later on down the road, your credit card or something’s getting charged. It’s because you went to the wrong website.”
News 10 asked, “Consumers, if you will, they go online, they look trying to change their address…. these scammers are charging them way more money than the USPS would ever charge?”
“That’s correct,” explained Babin. “If you go into the local post office, it actually doesn’t charge. They don’t charge any fees to change your address and if you go through the USPS.com website, they charge $1.05 which is just an identity verification charge.”
“Any specific things that consumers are saying about these websites?”
“We have received reports specifically, and basically what they’re saying is that they clicked on the wrong website. They were charged as much as $80 not realizing that it wasn’t the Postal Service,” added Babin. “Come to find out, they weren’t getting their mail and they didn’t get refunded either.”
“When consumers do fall prey to this scam, it’s usually that they don’t get their money back correct?”
Babin said, “They’re usually not getting their money back because that money went to a scammer that most of the times never gets caught. And you’re not getting the refund on the money that you spent.”
Here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau on ways to avoid fake websites:
- Double check the URL before you enter personal and payment information.
- Be wary of third-party websites. Some websites appear to offer a legitimate service, but are only fronts for a scam.
- Make online purchases with your credit card. Fraudulent charges made on a credit card can usually be disputed, whereas that might not be the case with other payment methods.
On the United States Postal Service’s website, to complete an online change of address, a valid email address is needed as well as a valid credit or debit card for the $1.05 charge.
Here is a response from a USPS Strategic Communications Specialist:
“There are websites that charge customers a fee for change-of-address services along with other services. Those websites are not associated with the U.S. Postal Service. Customers can change their address online at the Postal Service’s official website. The Postal Service charges $1.05 for identify verification for customers who change an address online.
If the Postal Service receives a complaint from a customer concerning one of these sites, we will take appropriate action. If customers are concerned about a possible scam, they are encouraged to notify the U.S. Postal Inspection Service by calling 1-877-876-2455 or file a report online at the Postal Inspection Service’s website.”
If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at Smasters@klfy.com.