Change of address fraud jumped 167% in 2021; report cites weak security on USPS website

INDIANAPOLIS — A recent report indicates Hoosiers should keep an even closer eye on their daily mail deliveries.

The April report from the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General showed a 167% increase in the number of fraudulent changes of address performed on the USPS Moversguide website.  According to the report, cases of change of address (COA) fraud and attempted identity theft jumped from 8,857 in 2020 to 23,606 in 2021.

Change of address fraud can include a scammer using online tools to change a victim’s address in order to redirect their mail to another location. Instead of reaching into your mailbox to steal your mail, they can forward it straight to them.

Indiana University Cyber Security Program Director, Scott Shackelford says the increase in online COA fraud coincided with an increase in cyber crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic, when millions of Americans suddenly pivoted to working online from home.

“My guess is what we’re seeing in these data is just one aspect of this much bigger trend that unfortunately has been going on for a few years now,” Shackelford said.

The OIG report concluded that the USPS did not have sufficient online security on the Moversguide.

“The Postal Service did not implement effective identity verification controls on Moversguide and charged customers $1.10 for identity verification services that it did not provide,” the report stated.


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