The potential role of USPS in identify theft

| Feb 15, 2020 | Firm News

Identify theft remains one of the most common crimes in America. Millions of Americans have had their financial or medical information misused. Some have even been impersonated by people who committed crimes and ended up being the one arrested or sent to jail. What role does USPS pay in this ongoing occurrence? 

A 2016 NBC report claimed that the Postal Service is often the loophole many fraudsters use. For instance, one woman explained how someone else was able to put a hold on her mail while trying to complete the necessary steps to steal her identity. This even involved taking out a credit card in her name. Luckily, the woman caught on when she stopped receiving mail and called USPS to find out what had happened. 

At the time, anyone could log onto the USPS website and put a hold on someone’s mail. They could then pick up that mail themselves. Some even found a way to forward the mail to another address. The prevalence of this and the dangers it presented to people in America caused the USPS to change this policy. It is now much more difficult to put a hold on someone’s mail. 

USPS also hires postal inspectors. These federal agents investigate postal crimes. It is important to note that fraud involving tampering with someone’s mail is a federal offense. USPS has also launched a campaign since then to educate people on how to protect themselves. Here are some of the key pointers now given as advice from USPS: 

  • Review credit reports. 
  • Sign credit cards upon arrival. 
  • Monitor the expiration dates on credit cards. 
  • Deposit outgoing mail before it is time for it to be collected. 

This certainly makes it more difficult for fraudsters to steal people’s identity in the short run. In the long run, they are likely to find another loophole to use to their advantage.