Sign up your address for USPS Informed Delivery before scammers do
Crooks have found a new way to steal your mail. They're exploiting a free service from the United States Postal Service (USPS) that offers an early look at what's coming in the mail.
13 million USPS customers have signed up for Informed Delivery and cybersecurity experts think that might be the best way to protect your mail.
Detective Daniel Robertson didn't arrive at a Round Rock home empty-handed. He's returning a toy the couple never expected to see again.
"We ordered a gift for our neighbor's son and it was taken from our porch maybe a week or so ago," said Chris Langan.
The Williamson County Sheriff's Department recovered a stash of stolen packages. The porch pirate problem is growing so fast the USPS has expanded its free Informed Delivery service nationwide.
Consumers who sign up for Informed Delivery will be emailed scanned images of their letters and packages by 9 o'clock on the morning that they'll be delivered.
The service lets consumers know that a check or something important has been delivered to their mailbox. But if you aren’t signed up for Informed Delivery there's the potential that someone else can sign up as you.
The crook uses your name and address but their email. They get the daily email notifications about what's being put in your mailbox and dropped at your door.
Cybersecurity expert Chris Humphreys sees the weakness in the system.
“Essentially anyone can get your name and address and sign up an account registered as you,” said Humphreys, CEO and founder of The Anfield Group. “You've got instances where people are intercepting credit cards or even signing up for credit cards under that address and under that person's name. At the end of the day, they have access to see what's coming to your house and they can completely intercept that.”
It's a problem where the crook can be beaten to the punch.
“To be safe everyone can just sign up ahead of time before someone signs up pretending to be them,” said Humphreys. “A quick win, to make sure that you're not going to get comprised, is to just go ahead and sign up for the service yourself.”
If you don't need to know what's coming on the mail truck, you can opt out. The USPS says consumers can request that no accounts be allowed for their address by calling USPS Technical Support at 1-800-344-7779.
"He got a bunch of people," said Langan as he stood with his wife in their front yard.
CBS Austin told the couple about Informed Delivery.
"Anything we can use technology-wise to stop this from happening in the future we'd be happy to use," said Langan.
They think it's smart to know more about their mail than scammers do.
CBS Austin requested an interview with USPS and got the following emailed response .
"Unfortunately, in very few cases, an individual’s identity has already been compromised by a criminal who then has used it to set up an Informed Delivery account. Creating a fraudulent account is illegal and punishable by law. Customers have two options available to report a potentially fraudulent Informed Delivery account or to block their address."
Consumers can report fraud online . To block an address, USPS recommends calling Technical Support at 1-800-344-7779.