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StarBulletin.com

U.S. postmaster should get report of mail fraud


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POSTED: Friday, November 27, 2009

QUESTION: I received a letter with a return address of Des Voeux Road Central, Central No. 39 (World Wide House) 28F. It had a Taiwan canceled postage stamp. Inside was an ad inviting the public to buy its travel services to Southeast Asia and other parts of the world. It also included two scratch-off award cards, one of which was a prize of $150,000 and instructions to call a number to claim the prize. Thinking it to be a scam, I sent it to the U.S. Postmaster General. The next day, I got the envelope back with a sheet advising people to report mail theft and mail fraud at (877) 876-2455. I called the number and punched the buttons as instructed but got nowhere. Why can't the post office forward the mail scam to the appropriate destination so that other postmen do not have to deliver them? The postal service seems to want to discourage fraud reporting. The postal service is placing the burden of fraud and scam on its customers on the domestic level, when it should coordinate in breaking up the scam with the postal service of the country of origin.

ANSWER: It does seem like a waste of time and effort on both sides. However, “;It appears this was an unusual occurrence,”; according to Postal Inspector Hilary Rickher, based in San Francisco. She said the normal procedure is for complaints involving possible crimes sent to the Postmaster General's Office to be forwarded to the Inspection Service. The customer would then be notified the complaint was received and being investigated.

In the meantime she outlined the way consumers can report potential mail fraud.

Go to the Web site postalinspectors.uspis.gov, where you can download and fill out a fraud complaint form. Or, you can print and fill out the form, then mail it and the mail fraud solicitation received to the local Inspection Service office. Inspection Service mailing addresses can also be found on the Web site.

Rickher said consumers also may report fraud by calling the Postal Inspection Service's fraud complaint center at (877) USMAIL5 (877-876-2455).

A third possibility: “;Some post offices will accept fraud complaint forms and supporting documents from postal customers and forward the complaints to the Inspection Service,”; she said.

As to working with other countries to thwart the scammers: “;Postal inspectors are intricately involved in six Canadian Cross-Border Fraud Partnerships,”; she said.

“;Additionally, postal inspectors work with foreign postal administrations, international organizations like the Universal Postal Union and law enforcement entities to improve security of the mail worldwide and protect society from criminal enterprises that use the mail to further their schemes.”;

 

MAHALO

To Dr. Rick Williams for his service to the community over the years. He has been my OB/GYN for around 15 years now, and I'd like to thank him for his generous and kind heart. Thank you for taking such good care of me for so long. I really appreciate it! God bless Dr. Williams. — Reiko Stiver

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