Identity Theft Via Change of Address

I recently heard about this type of identity theft and realized that I never thought about how easy this type of identity theft is to get away with. You can have your mail box locked down tight but your mail is still not as safe as you think. Any thief can easily submit a “Change of Address” to the post office under your name and address. This allows the thief to forward your mail to a place they can easily check it. Now the thief has access to your bank statements, credit card statements, bills and everything else coming to your address. After a week or two, they can submit another form and change your address back without you even knowing.

Methods Used by Thieves to Change Your Address

Online Change of Address

Many people may think that this would be the most convenient way to file a change of address request. It is actually more difficult to pull off as part of the online address forwarding request requires entry of a current credit or debit card and the address must match the address associated with the card.

In Person at the Post Office

This is actually the easiest way for a thief to change your address. All they have to do is visit the Post Office, fill out the change of address form and mail it off. NO FORM OF ID IS REQUIRED! USPS does send out a notice letting the person know that their address has been changed and to call if they did not change it. By that time though, the thief is already receiving your mail and obtaining sensitive information they can use to steal your identity.

Through Your Credit Card Company or Banking Institution

It is very easy for a thief to change your address through a company or institution. Many of these institutions allow a change of address over the phone, by mail or through the internet and some require very little information to make the change.

Detect and Prevent “Change of Address” Identity Theft to Protect Your Identity

Be Suspicious if Mail Does not Arrive Regularly

Most people receive mail on a daily basis. It’s not always important mail. Sometimes advertisements, other times it’s bills or statements. If you fail to receive mail from an institution that was supposed to have shown up, call the institution and make sure they mailed it. If they said they mailed it and you did not receive it, call your local post office ASAP to report missing mail.

Check Your Credit Regularly

Always monitor your bank statements and credit statements on a regular basis. Look for signs of fraud and unauthorized charges. If you spot any suspicious charges, report them to your bank or credit card company ASAP.

Protect Your Mail

If you have an easily accessible curbside mailbox, consider replacing it with a sturdy mailbox with a lock. Give a copy of the key to your postman so he will be able to access the box. If you are going out of town, you can request that the post office holds your mail until you return or you can have a friend pick up your mail while you are out.

Sign up For A Monitoring Service

This website contains details for a plan called Identity Theft Shield. This service constantly monitors your credit and your identity and will notify you within minutes of an address change. Not only does the service monitor credit and identity, but it offers full identity restoration services. LegalShield provides the service and contracts with Kroll Inc. Kroll is one of the leaders in identity protection. They are contracted with the FBI and are the ones that provide special agents with undercover identities. When you use the Identity Theft Shield service, Kroll will actually be able to restore your identity in the event that it is stolen. I recently started using the service myself after reading all the benefits and realizing that the price was way lower than what I pay for just a standard credit monitoring service.

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