Postal service does warn about address changes


POSTED: Wednesday, August 26, 2009

QUESTION: After reading in great detail about the Susan Shaw identity theft case, I read a sentence that struck me. It said that Shaw was able to acquire a “;change of address form”; for the mail she stole. I asked someone at the post office whether they ever checked the “;change of address”; form with any ID. He said no, and now that it can be done online, he said it would be almost impossible. His best suggestion was to check your mailbox, and if you haven't received any mail in a couple of days, check with your post office or carrier. Can you warn your readers?

ANSWER: It's true that the U.S. Postal Service does not ask for proof of identity with a “;change of address”; request.

However, the request does generate confirmation letters, said Lynne Moore, manager of customer service for the U.S. Postal Service in Hawaii.

One letter goes to the old address, verifying the request for a change of address, she said. The other confirmation letter is sent to the new address, without indicating what the old address is.

Those letters are sent once the information is entered into the forwarding system, Moore said, and that happens whether the request is made in person or online.

“;So there is a check and balance,”; she said.

Additionally, Moore said, if a change of address is requested online, the Postal Service requires that a credit card be used to pay for the $1 fee.

That “;nominal”; fee “;creates a necessity for a financial transaction to be processed, which identifies the person who is inputting the change of address.”;

A warning is posted on the Postal Service Web site about change of address procedures, saying “;anyone submitting false or inaccurate information on this form is subject to punishment by fine or imprisonment or both.”;

That obviously didn't deter Shaw. According to court documents, Shaw, a former Miss Hawaii International, was able to obtain credit cards in other people's names by having them forwarded to her address.

She faces 122 counts of identity theft and related charges. Trial is set for March in Circuit Court.

Microchip Deal Ending

Pet owners have only until Monday to take advantage of August “;Microchip Madness”; month on Oahu.

In a promotion sponsored by the Hawaiian Humane Society, participating veterinarians will implant the tiny computer chips holding identifying information for $5, instead of the typical $25 cost.

Participating clinics are Aina Haina Pet Hospital, Animal Clinic Inc., Animal Hospital of Hawaii, Animal House Veterinary Center, Blue Cross Animal Hospital, Cat-Bird Vet Mobile Hospital, Feather and Fur Animal Clinic, Haiku Veterinary Clinic, Hawaii Kai Veterinary Clinic, Island Veterinary Clinic, Kailua Animal Clinic, Kalihi Pet Clinic, Kapalama Pet Hospital, King Street Pet Hospital, Kokua Pet Clinic, Makai Animal Clinic, Newtown Veterinary Clinic, Ohana Veterinary Clinic, the Cat Clinic, the Pet Doctor, VCA University Animal Hospital, Wahiawa Animal Hospital and Waianae Veterinary Clinic.

The Hawaiian Humane Society maintains an Oahu microchip database as a free service. Pet owners who have moved or changed phone numbers should update their information.

An update form is available at http://www.hawaiianhumane.org or at a participating clinic.