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#26540 - 08/02/02 03:13 PM Address Changes Received Through USPS
homestar Offline
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Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 2,245
US of A
I am astounded to just learn that the U.S. Postal Service will accept address changes without verifying the identity (or even asking to see the ID) of the requestor. Addresses can also be changed over the Internet throught the USPS website. (

Has anyone heard of (or experienced) identity theft situations due to an fraudulent address change through the Postal Service? Am I being overly concerned or is there some other verification going on that I don't know about?

I'm trying to figure out the best way to ask a customer to confirm that a address change notice we receive from the Post Office is indeed valid before we change our records.

"If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you." ~ Oscar Wilde

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General Discussion
#26541 - 08/02/02 03:19 PM Re: Address Changes Received Through USPS
Lucy Griffin Offline

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Lucy Griffin
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Posts: 1,544
Not only does the post office accept these changes without proof of identity, they send the change of address to everyone sending mail to the old address. This probably facilitates fraud.

When I moved, some companies -- especially catalog sales companies -- changed the address and found me fast. However, the banks and other "responsible" senders of mail used a variety of techniques to verify the change. I had to send signed forms with the change of address to some. These companies mailed to both addresses until the change was resolved. Other companies had a toll-free number to call and I had to get through an ID test before they accepted my new address. The banks made me come in and talk to the CSR face to face to make the change. In light of fraud concerns and USA PATRIOT Act developments, I think that is a good idea. Busy as I was from the move, I knew no-one else had information about my bank accounts ---- unless, of course, the Post Office delivered my mail to my neighbor!

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#26542 - 08/02/02 03:39 PM Re: Address Changes Received Through USPS
thomasj Offline
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Posts: 5,063
I have been struggling with this issue as well. Currently, with the endorsement that appears on our envelopes, all of our mail gets forwarded to the new address. We are changing our statement envelopes so that statements will be returned to us but senior management wants to leave our other envelopes that may contain time sensitive information (bank correspondence, late notices, overdraft notices, etc.) be forwarded. We will not change a customer address without a signed request form, but some of our mail will still be forwarded.

How is everyone else handling this situation?
Knowledge is knowing what to say. Wisdom is knowing when to say it.

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#26543 - 08/02/02 03:46 PM Re: Address Changes Received Through USPS
BankerMama Offline
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Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,543
Nothing the US Postal Service does surprises me, however, with all the attention right now, you would think they would be considering changing their ways. Hey, when my identification was stolen and I put my mail on hold to pick up at the post office, I had to MAKE them look at my ID when I picked it up........they would have given my mail to anyone even after I had informed them of the theft of my identity.

I know an employee at our bank who was a victim of identity theft is reasonably sure that her problem started with them putting her mail (which had her social security number) in someone elses post office box...

No matter how hard the government comes down on banks, until they address such things as the postal service, US Dept of Education using student's social security number as loan number, colleges using student's social as student ID number(I know a victim due to this), states using SS# as drivers license numbers, etc, it "ain't" going to get no better!

We financial institutions can't do it all!!

Sorry for being on my soap box again.

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#26544 - 08/02/02 03:55 PM Re: Address Changes Received Through USPS
Lestie G Offline

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Joined: May 2002
Posts: 3,606
Near the Land of Enchantment
I'm handling it with lots of complaining!!

I'm with you, thomasj - there's not a good answer to this. We're being pressured/required to protect our customer's identity, then we're being required to verify identity and know our customer. The federal government, who gets to tell us what to do, is not playing by the rules they're making us play by!

We're requiring customer signatures on COA's - and we're sending confirmation letters to both the old and new addresses. As we've discussed in this forum before, though, the old one probably just gets forwarded to the new address, so that doesn't do a lot of good.

I'm hoping someone out there has come up with a solid, efficient, prudent means of handliing return mail and address changes, and will share with us!
Opinions my own.

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#26545 - 08/02/02 03:55 PM Re: Address Changes Received Through USPS
Lucy Griffin Offline

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Lucy Griffin
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 1,544
You are absolutely right. And that is why bankers need to speak out. Bankers are too willing to put shoulder to grindstone and take on everyone else's problems. Get out there and comment!

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#26546 - 08/02/02 07:19 PM Re: Address Changes Received Through USPS
Ted Dreyer Offline
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Ted Dreyer
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 2,245
The Federal Reserve issued a Supervisory Letter warning against fraudulent address changes and recommending that a request for confirmation of the change be sent to both the new address and the address of record. See:

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#26547 - 08/02/02 09:00 PM Re: Address Changes Received Through USPS
Princess Romeo Offline

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Where the heart is
Ted - the problem with trying to send a notice to the old address is - if it's been changed at the Post Office, your notice to the old address will either AUTOMATICALLY get forwarded to the new address or RETURNED to your bank (depends what your bank envelopes say.)

So what good does it do to try to send a notice to the old address? If we place a HOLD code on the statements, we wind up gettting over-run with return mail not to mention a lot of irate customers who thought changing the address with the Post Office was supposed to take care of everything.
Regulations are a poor substitute for ethics.
Just sayin'

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#26548 - 08/02/02 10:57 PM Re: Address Changes Received Through USPS
SJB Offline
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Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 1,210
As I thought about this it occurred to me that if someone put in a fraudulent change of address for me I wouldn't be getting any more mail. I'd ask the PO what was going on. It seems a more likely fraud scenario would be if someone gave just the bank a fraudulent change of address notice and left all the other mail coming through. In that case the mailing to both addresses should uncover the problem - I think.

It's Friday and I'm outta here for a week - yeah!
My opinions are not legal advice and are worth what you paid for them.

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#26549 - 08/02/02 11:02 PM Re: Address Changes Received Through USPS
Kathleen O. Blanchard Offline

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Kathleen O. Blanchard
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Posts: 21,281
At least where I am located, when an address change notice of any kind is received by the USPS, a notice of the address change request is sent to the OLD address and is NOT forwarded to the new address to give you an opportunity to let them know the notice was fraudulent. It asks you to let them know if you did not request the address change. It is done for exactly these reasons. I don't think this is something just done in PA.
Kathleen O. Blanchard, CRCM "Kaybee"
HMDA/CRA Training/Consulting/Mapping
The HMDA Academy

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#26550 - 08/21/02 02:45 PM Re: Address Changes Received Through USPS
DebbieC Offline
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 66
Owensboro, KY USA
We created an automated confirmation notice on accounts with address changes. The confirmations as sent randomly and controlled by our internal auditors as to the sample size. They are sent to the old address with the new address listed. This seems to be working pretty well so far.

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#26551 - 08/21/02 06:25 PM Re: Address Changes Received Through USPS
CarlD Offline
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Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 215
A few years ago, there was an effort to make postal drops, such as Mail Boxes Etc, append "PMB" to an address.

Instead of 1000 Main St, #123 it would be 1000 Main St, PMB 123.

This was to prevent or minimize the forwarded-mail scam problem. The premise was that a forwarder would send the mail to a pseudo address rather than his/her actual address. "PMB" was to be a warning flag.

Many drops appear to have quit abiding by the rule, but I believe that the rule is still in effect.
Regards, CarlD

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