You may have to move to a different part of the city (or country) for reasons such as marriage, job changes or maybe just for the adventure. One of the most important things that you have to do when moving is to change your postal address.
The United States Postal Service website and www.us-mailing-change-of-address.com provides a portal where one can change their addresses for just $1. The other option is personally visiting the post office and filling out forms in hard copy. If for some reason you do not want to change your address yourself, the constitution provides for third parties to intervene for you. These may be any persons with the power of attorney, or adult relatives. These agents are particularly useful in cases such as those of the very old or terminally ill people. It is, however, illegal to change the address of a deceased person.
This being the case, many people prefer to use an agent (a third party) to change their addresses. It is easy and convenient, especially if you are a busy person with little or no time to visit the post office. What they do not realize, however, is that it is very easy to get scammed by these third parties. In fact, it is reported that a remarkable 85% of people who use third parties to change their addresses get scammed.
How do I know if I am being scammed?
Third party address change agents are everywhere on the internet. Most of them are disguised as the official USPS while others pretend to be close affiliates, even using the official colors (blue and white) on their sites. Others even appear among the very first results when one searches USPS on any search engine.
The unsuspecting victim will provide their personal information including their address and credit information. The scammers will then proceed to charge extortionate amounts for the service, that is if they actually change the address. Some of these charges will recur monthly or annually.
In more severe cases, the scammers will even roughly estimate your worth. If you are found to be valuable, you will get an unpleasant midnight visit from masked robbers at your new home.
For legal protection, these sites usually have a policy in place stating- usually in extremely small and light fonts- that they money you are being charged is for verification of identity. Some people have complained of being conned more than $50 for the same service that the USPS will provide for $1.
You may also notice that your mail is not being forwarded. Your agent probably did not forward your address changes to the post office.
How do I protect myself from these scammers?
It’s pretty simple. Do not use third parties to change your address unless it is absolutely necessary. Use the official legitimate USPS website. If it you have to use an agent, make sure they have a good reputation. Also, make sure that you know exactly what you are being charged for, and the price it should cost.