Scams may charge you extra to change your address online

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A new scheme is adding to the cost of moving, as some people are being charged excessive amounts to change their address online.

"Consumers are being scammed $10, $15, maybe $30 for changing their address online," said U.S. Postal Inspector Paul Krenn.

Postal Inspectors say some websites are misrepresenting themselves and charging people 15 to 30 times the actual cost of changing an address.

"The postal service provides this service either free of charge through the local post office, or for $1 online," said Krenn. "Commercial websites that purport to have some sort of relationship with the postal service, but they do not."

Consumers provide the bogus sites with their new address and credit card information for the change of address service. Some people have complained of continual charges for extra services they never asked for. Others say a change of address was never done at all.

"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," said Krenn.

Online complaint platform, Scambook, has received more than 300 complaints in the last month about these kinds of sites.

Postal Inspectors say there are a few simple guidelines to follow when you decide to move.

First, visit your local post office to pick up a moving kit. The service is absolutely free. There is just a $1 verification fee to change your address through the U.S. Postal Service website.

Next, Krenn says, "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."