Changing your address through the United States Postal Service is a straightforward process that can be done online. Recently though, scammers have been creating websites that look like the USPS site and tricking consumers into paying steep prices for no service at all.
How the Scam Works
You type “address change” or a similar query into a search engine. Several results pop up. You click on the one that looks official and says USPS. When the site loads, everything looks normal, you fill out the forms and make a payment with your credit or debit card. Shortly after, you notice a hefty charge from a business that is not the USPS. When you call the company to find out what happened, they claim, at best, that they can only offer you a partial refund.
One consumer reported this experience to BBB.org/ScamTracker: “They set up their site to perfectly mimic the USPS website and charge $80 for an address change that they never actually perform.” In most cases, these fake companies get away with your money and your address is left unchanged.
How to Avoid Falling Victim to a Fake Website
- Double check the URL before you enter personal and payment information. It can be easy to click on a sponsored ad or impostor website without noticing. Before you enter any sensitive information, double check that you are on the right website and that the link is secure. (Secure links start with “https://” and include a lock icon on the purchase page… learn more at bbb.org/BBBSecure.)
- Be wary of third-party websites. Some websites appear to offer a legitimate service but are only fronts for a scam. Be suspicious of websites with no working customer service number and no physical address. Typos and grammatical errors can be indications of a scammer’s handiwork too.
- Make online purchases with your credit card. Fraudulent charges made on a credit card can usually be disputed, whereas that might not be the case with other payment methods.