A growing crime has thieves targeting your mail and forwarding it to another address

WEST PALM BEACH - While Heather Sandarr was on a cruise, back home, thieves were stealing her identity.

“Nine credit cards were filed in my name,” said Sandarr.  

Sandarr had no idea all that happened until she got home and found an empty mailbox. The thieves forwarded her mail to another address while she was away.

“This almost feels like you’ve had someone come in your house and vandalize it,” said Sandarr.

Postal inspector, Jeffrey Esser, says there are controls in place to limit the fraud.

You have to pay a dollar with a credit or debit card if you forward mail online.

“That does scare away some people who are thinking about committing fraud,” said Esser.

But in 2008, the Inspector General warned there were not enough controls for the paper address change. An internal investigation found even some unsigned postcards are processed and the post office warned that could lead to identity theft.

It's unclear if the alleged thieves changed Heather's address on paper or online.

“What they are looking to do is divert the customers mail to an address they control,” said Esser.  

That makes it easier for the thief to continue their crime spree and continue collecting your sensitive information.

“I know I didn’t get a Visa bill and that concerned me because it has my credit card number on it.  I know I didn’t get my Social Security report saying what I would be getting this year,” said Sandarr.

Sandarr is once again getting her mail, but the damage is done.

The thieves even changed her Medicare information.

“They think I’m a 72-year-old and they thought I wasn’t going to know what to do, but I’m a little smarter than I look,” said Sandarr.  

After Sandarr called the Consumer Watchdog, the postal inspectors launched an investigation.

“See if we could follow up on the leads she could provide us and maybe get her some satisfaction,” said Esser.  

When an address is changed, the post office sends a letter to the old and new address to alert you of the change just in case it was changed incorrectly.  Check your mail carefully to pick up on this fraud. 

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