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Changing home address online can lead to costly mistake

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 7/25/2013 10:26 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- With many people moving during the summer months, scammers are exploiting this confusing time by offering unnecessary change-of-address services. Today’s Rip-Off Alert runs down how to avoid a costly mistake.

U.S. Postal Inspector Paul Krenn said that “consumers are being scammed $10, $15, maybe $30 for changing their address online.”

The sites are charging 15 to 30 times the real cost and “the Postal Service provides this service either free of charge through the local post office or for $1 online,” Krenn said.

Postal inspectors say the problem is that some websites are misrepresenting themselves. So consumers give these sites their new address and credit card information for the change-of-address service.

Some consumers complain they're continuing to be charged for extra services they never wanted. Some said the change of address was never done.

“Commercial websites that purport to have some sort of relationship with the postal service but they do not,” Krenn said. “It’s interesting, but the victims in this scam often call the Postal Service to help them resolve the issue, when, unfortunately, there is nothing the Postal Service can do at that point to stop the subscription charges or correct the error.”

Scambook is an online complaint platform has received more than 300 complaints about these sites from consumers in the last month. Postal inspectors say if you are moving, there are a few simple guidelines. Log on to moversguide.usps.com or simply visit your local postal office and pick up a moving kit.

If you submit a change of address through the post office there is a required $1 verification fee. However, if you go to the post office the service is free.

“If they are dealing with financial institutions, medical providers, or insurance carriers they should change their address directly to those providers to insure they are getting the correct information in a timely manner,” Krenn said.

Anyone with information about scams or frauds like this one should contact the U.S. Postal Inspectors at postalinspectors.usps.gov or call (877) 876-2455.

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