What Do You Do If Someone Is Using Your Address
Unauthorized Change Of Address; What Can You Do? – US …
As humans we may have been around for a while, but one thing that seems to have not ended, is fraud. There will always be people, with illicit motives trying to take advantage of a widow or other vulnerable members of society, given the opportunity. Today we will be discussing address fraud; a growing plague that is the leading contributing factor responsible for mail theft. What Is Address Fraud? It is the illegal and unauthorized request to change someone’s mailing address, without their consent. The way this works is, individuals with bad intentions will complete a USPS change of address without the resident’s agreement. Going in person to a post office location is the easiest way for someone to follow through with this form of identity theft. They will simply fill out the 1583 form and have all mail redirected from your address to their address. That means that all credit card information, your social security number (etc. ) are now at their hands to use as they wish. What is troubling, is the ease with which someone can request a change of address without your knowledge. All they need essentially, is your name and street address; they’ll handle the rest… The good news is, the only way for someone to complete a change of address successfully without you being notified of it, is offline. So there is no way that someone across the world can complete such a process off of their computer. That is due to the $1 verification charge that the USPS website will enable, to verify your information and bank account. The statistics are troubling; over 700 changes of address completed every year are fraudulent. What is more troubling than that, is the fact that the number of address fraud complaints filled each year, is at a little over 17, 000. So clearly the difficulty in tracking such activity is quite high. Why Would Someone Use Your Mailing Address? At first glance, it may not seem like a big problem. Who uses snail mail in 2020 anyway…right? Wrong! All of your government paperwork (including IRS notices, ) come through the mail. So, although you may be getting your bank statements online, most likely you are also getting some kind of bank information in the mail. Oftentimes, such information will include your social security number, passport information etc (to name a few. ) Other information would include healthcare statements (including Medicare. ) Such information can be used for the purpose of changing your financial information, signing up for credit cards you did not want and charging you for services you did not use. Essentially, they get full control of your identity and can act in any way they like, under your name. How Do I Find Out If Someone Changed My Mailing Address? Fraudulent change of address can be distressing. But it is somewhat hard to know if this has happened to you. So, let’s look at some of the ways you can find out if you have been a victim of change of address fraud. Typically, the USPS will send out verification letters with the request of each address change, to confirm that a resident actually completed such a request. Such move validation notices can help prevent the approval of the address change, if this was not requested by you. In the event where you do get such a letter, make sure you reach out to your local post office branch to let them know! Another good way to tell if your address has been changed, is if you stop receiving mail. Considering that a change of address has been completed, that means that you no longer get mail to your mailbox. If you start noticing that, then chances are someone completed a change of address on your behalf. Similar suspicious activity such as change of billing address for your current credit cards, or new account sign up notifications (credit cards, loyalty programs etc. ) can be signals that you have been the victim of address fraud. If no suspicious activity (as listed above) is taking place, then you can still check the postal records, and lookup the address under which you come up. If you need to reach their customer support phone number, you can call (800) ASK-USPS. Is It Illegal for Someone to Use Your Mailing Address? Technically, it isn’t explicitly illegal for someone to use your address. However, using a mail address without permission or using it as your own when it isn’t, could be deemed address fraud. In some states, it would result in jail time! Having said this, they do have to cause damage. What do we mean by this? Well, if someone is performing illegal mail forwarding with your address, it could be because they are trying to evade some taxes or want their children to get into a better public school. This is damage caused by mail forwarding scams. Sometimes, people will even use your address because they have to “prove” that they have a residence. What To Do If Someone Is Using Your Home Address Fraudulently Being a victim of address fraud, essentially means that you become a victim of mail theft, identity theft, and all sorts of financial crimes. Getting an issue like this taken care of, is not something to be handled lightly. Unfortunately, although the post office will be able to detect whether a change of address has been completed or not, they won’t be able to do much with identifying what address your mailing address has been changed to nor will they be able to do something about it. In order to handle this situation you will want to reach out to the Postal Inspection Service and they would be more suitable to deal with your situation. How Do I Stop Someone from Using My Address? If you are constantly receiving letters, parcels and packages addressed to someone else or you are 100% certain someone is practising fraudulent mail forwarding with your address, there are things you can do. We are going to take a look at what options you have. Ready? Let’s get into the specifics. Firstly, you need to write “not at this address” or “return to sender” on all the letters and packages you falsely receive. Then, you should leave them in your mailbox so the mailman can collect them. Alternatively, you can hand them to the mailman if you manage to catch him or her the next day. When you do see the postman, state that the recipient of the mail doesn’t live at your home. Secondly, do not open any renewal notices or other government notices that arrive at your home addressed to the man or woman using your address. Contact whoever it is that is sending the letters (the number or address will be on the back of the envelope usually) and state that the addressee does not live with you. The next step, if you keep receiving unwanted mail is to visit your nearest United States Postal Service office to launch a complaint. They should be able to stop the parcels, packages, and letters from persisting. Alternatively, if you believe that you are a victim of change of address scams, you should contact the United States Postal Inspect Service. The number is (877) 876-2455 or you can click here to fill out the report online. You will need to give the following information: Company name (optional) First name Last name Address including city, state, zip code and country Cell phone (optional) Work phone (optional) Email address (optional) Age range Whether or not you’re a veteran Information of the person or company you are filing against (if known) The method of contact When you were contacted Whether you still have the envelope How you responded Whether you mailed the response to a different address Whether or not you have a tracking number What you received Was any money involved Was any money lost What fraud scheme category it falls into (charity fraud, sweepstakes, harassment, educational fraud, employment fraud, false bill, etc. ) Scheme type (the options differ depending on what category you pick) Any additional information For many people, this has proved to be quite a lot when their minds are full of USPS false change of address scams and illegal activity. Therefore, the phone call optional might be a better one for you. Finally, if you realize that someone is using your address for their proof of residence, insurance, or driver’s license, you need to contact the police. We strongly advise you to use a non-emergency number as technically this is not an emergency (even if it feels like it to you). They will be able to tell you the laws in your state and figure out whether someone is committing a crime or not. How to Report Someone Fraudulently Using Your Address Calling your local post office won’t do much to actually report the person or entity who is using your address illegally. For this, you will need to call the United States Postal Inspection Service. You can find the number in the previous section, as well as the information you will need to provide if you choose to fill out the online form instead. The more information you can give them, the better they can track down the culprit. Also, we suggest that you have any information about credit card or sensitive data breaches relating to this incident to hand as well. How To Avoid Address Fraud There are a few ways to avoid becoming a victim of address fraud. While you might be able to come up with better ways but we’ve found that our tips have worked a crazy amount. Are you curious? We bet you are! Don’t fret, we are going to divulge all our secrets now. To start with, you need to be extremely careful about who you share your information with. While you can’t cut out the fact that some people will know where you live, you should implement the following steps to hide it as best you can. Don’t share your home address anywhere By now, every internet user knows that whatever you put out there, millions of people can search for, find, and see. You may think the information is somewhat protected but, in all reality, it isn’t. Share your address with close friends and family only. Use a temporary email address. Sometimes, companies ask you to input your email address for registrations or purchases. This can easily link back to your home address. To combat this, you can go to sites like to acquire a disposable email which will help protect your identity. Last but by far the best option is to get a virtual mailbox! We’re going to chat about that now — trust us, it’s a biggie. The Best Solution The only way to ensure that you avoid being the victim of address fraud with 100% certainty, is that you do not receive any mail at all; something that is impossible. Or is it…? More and more people have been switching to Virtual Mailbox solutions. Whether due to security concerns, convenience, or the fact that a virtual mailbox generally costs ½ what it costs to maintain a physical mailbox, the digital mailbox revolution is well under way. The way virtual mailboxes work is that all mail you receive are forwarded to a secure warehouse processing facility. From there, it is scanned and uploaded into a Gmail – like inbox. You can label all your documents and access on demand 24/7. Additional features usually include mail shredding (for documents with sensitive information), check deposits and shipping. Due to the volume of mail that virtual mailbox companies process, they can usually offer up to 80% off retail shipping rates.
Can Your Identity Be Stolen With Only a Name and Address? – LifeLock
Nov. 27, 2017
It might sound like an urban legend designed to scare you, but still you have to ask the question: “Can my identity be stolen with only my name and address? ”
“The short answer is no, ” says Eva Casey Velasquez, president/CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center. “However, your name and address could be used as a gateway to steal your identity. ”
In this article, learn four ways that gate might be opened.
How your name and address can lead to identity theft
Identity thieves are always on the lookout for personally identifiable information, or PII, that they can use to start piecing together a person’s financial world. This can include details like Social Security number, birthdate, or name and address.
Depending on what identity thieves find, they can do things like open new credit accounts, steal from existing accounts or commit other crimes using a fake identity.
An identity thief may try and use your name and address in several different scenarios. Here are four of them.
1. Using a database to find more information
A thief could plug your name and address into a publicly searchable database to see what other pieces of information can be found.
One website charges as little as a dollar for reports that include someone’s phone numbers, marriage and divorce records, education records, employment history, and more.
These pieces of PII could potentially be used to open new financial accounts. It’s important to protect yourself against this type of identity theft. Check your credit report regularly to look for new accounts you don’t recognize, and scan your billing statements line by line to look for suspicious charges.
2. Using ‘name’ and ‘address’ as security answers
When you call a customer service number about your account, often the first question they’ll ask is “Who am I speaking with? ” They may also ask you to verify your address or another question to verify your identity.
It’s part courtesy, part security to see if it’s really you calling.
If a thief has these answers, he may be able to slip through and get more details about your financial accounts. Checking your credit report for suspicious activity may help you if a thief has accessed your accounts or opened new ones.
3. Redirecting your mail
There are ways to commit identity theft offline.
With a name and address, a thief can change your address via U. S. Postal Service and redirect mail to their address of choice, Velasquez says. With access to your financial mail, the thief may intercept bank statements and credit card offers or bills, then order new checks and credit cards.
This is a form of mail theft.
Some good news: The postal service has a few security steps in place to trip up this type of fraud. You can also help thwart this type of theft by opting in to paperless billing for all your financial accounts, and opting out of unsolicited credit card offers. If a thief tries to reroute your mail, there might not be much to find.
4. Sending fake offers via mail
Another attempt at theft offline includes “phishing, ” which can be done via good old-fashioned snail mail. That’s when a fake entity sends you mail cleverly disguised as a legitimate institution requesting money or financial information.
These pieces of mail may include fake bills, change-in-service notifications or lottery-win notices.
If you get a piece of unsolicited mail that looks suspicious, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
In nearly any identity-theft scenario, a thief must have more than your name and address to commit fraud. So these details could be a gateway into your financial world, but it’s not your last line of defense.
Is It Illegal for Someone to Use Your Mailing Address? Answered
Short Answer It is not always explicitly illegal for someone to use your mailing address. However, allowing someone else to use your address or using someone else’s mailing address as your own may be considered address fraud. Address fraud is punishable by jail time in some areas. Below, we answer more questions about address fraud and offer tips for what you can do to stop someone from using your address.
Is It Illegal for Someone to Use Your Address?
It may not explicitly be illegal for someone to use your address or if you use someone else’s address as your own, but the reason for doing so may be considered fraud:
“Fraud is deliberately deceiving someone else with the intent of causing damage. This damage need not be physical damage, in fact, it is often financial. There are many different types of fraud, for example bankruptcy fraud, credit card fraud, and health care fraud. The precise legal definition of fraud varies by jurisdiction and by the specific fraud offense. ”
If someone else uses your address and causes some damage — such as evading certain taxes or benefiting from a better public school district — he or she may be committing fraud, depending on how the criminal laws in your jurisdiction are written. In Wisconsin, for example, the state specifically defines mail fraud. In federal law, there’s an entire chapter of criminal law on fraud and false statements.
If someone is using your mailing address because they need to provide residency, our related article details which documents they can use to prove their address quickly and without utility bills.
Legal Ramifications of Using a False Address
There is federal- and state-level legislation against the intentional misrepresentation of physical address, which would apply to using someone else’s address or letting someone else use yours. According to U. S. Code Title 18, Chapter 63, Section 1342, using a fictitious or false name or address for any fraudulent intent or scheme can lead to fines and up to five years in jail.
Using a false address can also lead to legal ramifications on a state level. For example, Florida state law specifies that using someone else’s name or address without his or her knowledge in order to obtain refunds or merchandise from business establishments is a second-degree misdemeanor (s 817. 037), which is punishable by up to 60 days of jail time or $500 in fines. And the Wisconsin law we cited above names mail fraud a Class H felony, punishable by fines up to $10, 000, prison terms of up to six years, or both.
For specific laws in your area, see the Legal Information Institute’s state law directory.
How to Stop Someone From Using Your Address
If you have been receiving mail addressed to someone else or know someone is using your address, there are a couple of things you can do to prevent them from continuing to use your address. The best course of action will depend on how the person is using your address; we detail your options below.
Mark any unwanted, unopened mail or packages with “Not at This Address” or “Return to Sender” and leave them in your mailbox or hand them to your postman. If you are able, tell the postman that the recipient does not live at your address.
If you receive a renewal notice or other important document addressed to the person who is using your address, do not open it. Instead, contact the companies that sent the mailings and make them aware that they have the wrong address.
Visit a United States Postal Service (USPS) office near you to file a complaint regarding unwanted mail.
If you believe you’ve been scammed or suspect that the person using your address is engaging in mail fraud, you can contact the U. Postal Inspection Service at (877) 876-2455 or file a USPIS report online.
If someone is using your address for their driver’s license, insurance, or proof of residence, contact the police using a non-emergency number or visit the police station to make a report. They can clarify the laws in your state and determine whether the person using your address is in violation of the law.
Is it illegal for someone to use your mailing address? If you let someone else use your mailing address or you use someone else’s mailing address, it’s the intent that makes this a punishable activity on a federal or state level. Legal ramifications of fraud include fines and/or jail time. In general, it is not a good idea to use someone else’s address as your own or to let someone else use your address as their own. If someone is using your address without your permission, you can return unwanted mail to the sender, file complaints with the USPS and USPIS, or contact the police to stop the person from using your address.
Frequently Asked Questions about what do you do if someone is using your address
What to do if someone is falsely using your address?
Calling your local post office won’t do much to actually report the person or entity who is using your address illegally. For this, you will need to call the United States Postal Inspection Service.Mar 13, 2020
What can someone use your address for?
With a name and address, a thief can change your address via U.S. Postal Service and redirect mail to their address of choice, Velasquez says. With access to your financial mail, the thief may intercept bank statements and credit card offers or bills, then order new checks and credit cards.Nov 27, 2017