Postal Inspector: USPS tweaking program hacked by identity thieves
JJ Alfasa checks out the newly renovated cottage at the Boca Raton Children’s Museum on Thursday.
While police search for a gang of identity thieves that has been plundering mailboxes in Miramar, the U.S. Postal Service is tweaking a new program that the thieves took advantage of.
The Informed Delivery program lets consumers know, via email, what mail is being delivered to their home and when.
However, identity thieves were signing up for the program, linking targeted addresses to alternate emails so they would know what is being delivered to a given home and then steal the valuable pieces of mail, such as credit card statements, from curbside mailboxes.
“Informed Delivery is a fairly new tool,” said postal inspector Ivan Ramirez. “Unfortunately we just learned about this [scheme].”
Without revealing the new security measures, Ramirez said one quick fix involves consumers signing up for the free Informed Delivery program themselves at USPS.com and linking it to their own email addresses to block anyone else from doing so, he said.
“Once you have it registered in the system, your email is tied to your address and no other email is going to be signed up for the same address,” he said. “That way no one else can sign up for it afterward.”
The registration process includes choosing a user name and password, answering two security questions, adding your mailing address, email address and a phone number, and choosing one of two identity verification options.
If you are blocked from signing up for Informed Delivery because someone has already signed up using your name or address, contact the Postal Inspection Service consumer hotline at 1-877-876-2455 to report the problem.
“Once the Postal Service is aware that [you have] been victimized, we can deactivate that account, protect your account and have you register your legitimate account so that this doesn’t happen again,” Ramirez said.
Postal inspectors, Miramar police and several other law enforcement agencies have been looking for three men suspected of using Informed Delivery to monitor mail deliveries in the Monarch Lakes community so they could steal letters and use that personal information to open credit card accounts and get driver’s license duplicates.