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Scammers target consumers who are preparing to move

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Posted at 8:02 PM, Oct 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-14 20:02:35-04

A new scheme appears to be moving in just as many folks prepare to move out.

“Consumers are being scammed $10, $15, maybe $30 for changing their address online,” says Paul Krenn, US Postal Inspector.

The sites are charging 15 to 30 times the real cost.

“The postal service provides this service either free of charge through the local post office or for a dollar online,” says Krenn.

Postal inspectors say the problem is that some websites are misrepresenting themselves.

“Commercial websites that purport to have some sort of relationship with the postal service but they do not,” says Krenn.

Consumers give these sites their new address and credit card information for the change of address service.

Some consumers complain they're continuing to be charged for extra services they never wanted. Some said the change of address was never done.

“It`s interesting, but the victims in this scam often call the postal service to help them resolve the issue, when unfortunately there is nothing the postal service can do at that point to stop the subscription charges or correct the error,” says Krenn.

Scambook, an online complaint platform has received more than 300 complaints about these sites from consumers in the last month. Postal inspectors say if you are moving, there are few simple guidelines.

First, log on to moversguide.usps.com or simply visit your local postal office and pick up a moving kit. If you submit a change of address through the post office, there is a required $1 verification free. However, if you go to the post office the service is free.

“If they are dealing with financial institutions, medical providers or insurance carriers they should change their address directly to those providers to insure they are getting the correct information in a timely manner,” says Krenn.

Anyone with information about scams or frauds like this one should contact the U.S. Postal Inspectors at postal inspectors.uspis.gov or call 877-876-2455 and select three.