Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

Postal inspectors are on a mission to protect Americans from fraud

March 14, 2024

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » Postal Posts

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Postal Service are proud to participate in National Consumer Protection Week, which is hosted every March by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In 2024, we are spotlighting investment scams, a serious and growing form of fraud that last year cost Americans more than $4.6 billion.

Get-rich-quick schemes have been around for a long time, but today, criminals use the latest technologies to reach you any place, any time, with little effort or cost on their part. Phone scams are still common, but here at the Postal Inspection Service, we’ve noticed that social media and artificial intelligence are increasingly being used to target vulnerable consumers.

Unfortunately, it’s working. According to the FTC, Americans lost 20 percent more to investment scams in 2023 than they did in 2022. This made investment scams the highest-value consumer fraud in the country.

You may be wondering why postal inspectors investigate these scams in the first place. Although criminals may use the phone, email, texts or social media to reach their targets, when they need to access the money they are after — be it cash, a check or even something more sophisticated like a crypto wallet — they typically ask for it to be mailed to them. As the law enforcement agency responsible for defending the nation’s mail system from illegal or dangerous use, we are committed to stopping these scammers from abusing the security and sanctity of the postal network.

Postal inspectors are on the front line bringing these scammers to justice. If you have been a victim of an investment scam, know someone who has, or want to know more to protect yourself, you can reach us any time at www.uspis.gov or send a direct message through our social media channels at XInstagramFacebook and YouTube.

Anyone could be a potential target of these criminals, but scammers mostly prey on older Americans who are more likely to be sitting on money for their retirement and less likely to have support mechanisms to turn to for help. And while it’s always a good start to approach any promise of easy money as “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” we’ve seen how slick and convincing these scammers can be. They can quickly maneuver themselves into becoming trusted friends and confidants of their victims.

That’s why, we’ve created a public service announcement campaign for TV, radio and social media that reminds consumers to be vigilant of anyone — whether it’s someone you met online, a pillar of the community or even a family member — offering huge returns on your money for little or no risk. They also provide easy steps to protect yourself from these investment scam artists.

We’ve developed a number of resources to educate and inform American consumers about investment scams. You can access them at https://www.uspis.gov/additional-resources#handouts. You can also listen to my recent episode of the USPS Mailin’ It!” podcast, where I speak in-depth about the ways to identify investment scams and how best to avoid them.

As someone who chases these fraudsters daily, I can assure you that you are not alone if you become a victim. Don’t blame yourself, either; this happens to many people from every walk of life. And please report it to the authorities. The more information we have, the better chance we have of catching these criminals, putting them away and getting your money back.

 

Eric Shen

USPIS Inspector in Charge Postal Inspector Criminal Investigations Group

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share via
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Send this to a friend