She said her P.O. Box was always empty. Then she started getting notices from people that her mail was being returned, so she asked what was going on. She was stunned to hear her mail was going to a different address in a different city.
The post office told Pride that she had requested a change of address, but she said she did not. As it turns out, someone allegedly filled out a change of address form, which the post office does not require any identification to do. You just need to fill out the card and drop it in a mailbox.
"It should never be that easy. It's not that easy to get an address. It's not that easy to get a post office box. You have to come in and show all kinds of identity to get a post office box. But somebody can put a card in the mail and take it from you," said Pride.
The post office said if you file a change of address online, it asks for a credit card to prove identity, but it's different to fill out a card.
"If a COA is filed manually, a notice is immediately generated by the computer when the COA is input and mailed to the original address notifying the person that a COA has been filed and to where. In this case, the elderly customer must have inadvertently discarded this notice or did not understand what it was telling her," said a U.S. Postal Service spokesperson.
Pride said she never received a notice telling her about the change of address. In the meantime, she claims several checks were returned, bills weren't received and her credit suffered. The only bill she did receive was from the post office for her box rental.
The post office sent her a letter acknowledging a fraudulent change of address that she can use to present to creditors and businesses. It said it has stopped the mail forwarding and is investigating. Pride said things started to get fixed only after Eyewitness News got involved.
The post office said only about 4 percent of identity theft occurs through mail theft. If you notice anything unusual in your mail delivery, notify them immediately. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigates this, and it is a federal crime.