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USPS Tackles Mail Theft and Fake Postage

USPS Tackles Mail Theft and Fake Postage

The USPS and Postal Inspection Service laid out a plan to tackle the growing problem of mail theft and fake postage, it announced on Friday.

They’re expanding their Project Safe Delivery crime-prevention initiative, good news for online sellers even though sellers tend to focus on theft that occurs after a package has been delivered.

Attention to the issue comes as letter-carrier robberies are rising. In Fiscal Year 2022, 412 carriers were robbed on the job; in the first half of FY 2023, 305 carriers were robbed. In addition, there were 38,500 high-volume thefts of mail receptacles in FY 2022, and over 25,000 in the first half of FY 2023.

One type of fraud the Postal Service is tackling is Change of Address fraud. “The Postal Service is not the intended target but implicated as the fraudster intercepts financially oriented mail, credit cards or checks,” it explained. “The Postal Service is embarking on strengthening authentication processes for all methods of COA – electronic, and hard copy format whether by mail or in-person.”

Among the actions it’s taking: the Postal Service will no longer accept third-party change-of-address submissions.

We’ve previously reported on the postal crackdown of fake postage, and Friday’s announcement revealed that in Fiscal Year 2022, the Postal Service and Postal Inspection Service seized over 340,000 packages with counterfeit postage and over 7.7 million counterfeit stamps with an estimated $7.8 million loss avoidance for the Postal Service.

The USPS said one of the actions it is taking to crack down on fake postage is “Engagement and partnership with eCommerce companies to disrupt activity,” though it didn’t provide details about what that means.

In the USPS announcement, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said, “The men and women of the Postal Service are walking our nation’s streets every day to fulfil our mission of delivering mail and packages to the American people. Every Postal employee deserves to work in safety and to be free from targeting by criminals seeking to access the public’s mail.”

Postal Inspection Service Chief Gary Barksdale said, “We’re doubling down on our efforts to protect our Postal employees and the security of the mail. We are hardening targets – both physical and digital – to make them less desirable to thieves and working with our law enforcement partners to bring perpetrators to justice.”

As part of Project Safe Delivery, the USPS and USPIS said they are taking action to “harden physical targets against criminal activity and reduce criminal acts against postal employees.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

2 thoughts on “USPS Tackles Mail Theft and Fake Postage”

  1. And while Papa died with his mail bag on, the Postal Service is up against it today.
    Sellers can help by telling their customers , “No 3rd party addresses”. Or cancel the sale.

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