• Watch out for thieves forwarding mail behind your back

    By: Jason Stoogenke

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Criminals reroute people's mail to themselves so they can steal personal information, checks or even medicine -- and they don't need a lot of information to do it.

    If they do it online, they just need your name, address, credit card number and $1.05. 

    "Who knew?  I didn't know.  I mean, I knew about all sorts of credit card and other fraud, but I've never heard of this type," Lauren Peetz told Action 9's Jason Stoogenke.

    Peetz said her letter carrier knocked on her door and asked if she was moving. When she said no, the carrier said, "'Well, do you know your mail is being forwarded to Texas for the past couple of days?'"

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    Peetz reported it to the postmaster and felt a duty to warn others.

    "I went to Facebook first. I went to Nextdoor," Peetz said.  "It's just something people just have to be aware of."

    The U.S. Postal Service told Stoogenke that when someone forwards your mail, it sends a letter to your old address to make sure you meant to forward it.

    Peetz said she got that letter, but by that point her mail had already been going to Texas for a few days.

    "It started on a Saturday," Peetz said.  "I received the post card on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. So that's how many days they could have already been getting my mail before I knew about it."

    [CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Postal worker fired after dumping mail into Long View dumpster]

    You can't put any kind of block or freeze on forwarding your mail, but Peetz had already signed up for USPS informed delivery. 

    The Postal Service emails pictures of the mail you should be getting every day, so at least she caught it early and was able to see that nothing important was forwarded.  

    "Luckily, we caught it soon enough that I don't think anything important made it through," she said.

    Stoogenke sent the Postal Service a Freedom of Information Act request to see how often this crime happens.

    He also took the issue to federal lawmakers who oversee the Postal Service to find out if they're willing to put more safeguards in place.

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