The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced plans to better protect USPS employees and prevent mail theft. USPS workers can be the target of crime as they have access to a variety of mailboxes and buildings. Due to ongoing safety threats, the USPS and the Postal Inspection Service are expanding their Project Safe Delivery crime prevention initiative to protect Postal employees and facilities, prevent mail and package theft and enforce the law against individuals who perpetrate crimes against Postal employees or engage in mail and package theft.
The USPS is hardening blue collection boxes making access to their contents more difficult for criminals. These boxes are now being deployed in high security risk areas through the next fiscal year. The USPS will continue to evaluate replacing additional existing blue collection boxes with these enhanced boxes.
There has been an increase in letter carrier robberies nationwide where criminals are targeting letter carriers for their Arrow and Modified Arrow Lock (MAL) Keys. Criminals use Arrow and MAL keys to steal mail from secure mail receptacles to commit financial crimes, including altering checks to commit check fraud. To make Arrow Keys less valuable for criminals, the USPS will replace 49,000 arrow locks with electronic locks. New locks have been installed in select cities with installation to occur in additional major metropolitan areas soon.
The USPS processed more than 33 million change of address (COA) transactions in FY22. The majority of COA frauds are driven by an identity theft motive separate from the USPS. The USPS is not the intended target but implicated as the fraudster intercepts financially oriented mail, credit cards or checks. The USPS is embarking on strengthening authentication processes for all methods of COA including electronic and hard copy format whether by mail or in-person. Actions include:
- In April, the USPS implemented dual authentication Identity Verification Services for online change of addresses transactions to provide enhanced security controls to reduce fraud.
- Effective May 31, the USPS will offer enhanced in-person change of address transactions at post offices and retail outlets. COA customers can verify their identity by presenting an approved form of identification to a retail clerk.
- USPS customers seeking a COA will now receive a validation letter at their old address and receive an activation letter at their new address.
- As an additional safeguard, the USPS will no longer accept third-party change of address submissions.