Fraud, Change of Address and Mail
Address Fraud is a form of fraud whereby someone uses a fictitious address or an inaccurate address for monetary gain or other personal benefit. A fictitious address is a location that does not exist. An inaccurate address could be, as example, a former address that was never updated, or an acquaintance’s or a relative’s address. The crime may involve stating one’s address as a place where he/she never lived, or continuing to use a previous address where one no longer lives as one’s own. For identity theft, we’ve seen instances where the criminal patient use a bogus name and address to avoid paying for their healthcare visit. They stole the identity of someone else in town, and are using that identity and address when giving personal information during admissions. The bill is then sent by mail to the incorrect patient, and/or is returned as undeliverable because the address and name do not exist.
Some thieves may divert your billing statements to a different location by completing a USPS® “change of address” form for you. Therefore, instead of you receiving documents at your residence containing your private information, a complete stranger now obtains this information and can steal your identity. Criminals may also commit fraud by using one’s old address as a current address to receive mail. It is committed by deliberately failing to report an address change and using the old address on legal documents. Another involves the representation of a communal mail box as one’s own address where one resides in order to take advantage of benefits available to those residing in its location.
Another common example of committing address fraud is opening a bank account or credit account using a false or stolen address. Someone might submit a credit application containing another person’s address or a fictitious address. Another regular practice is to steal documents with personal information and portray the identity as one’s own when seeking credit approval. Once approved, the perpetrator can incur debt in another person’s name and not have to pay the charges.
School enrollment is also subject to address fraud. Many parents or guardians claim addresses in public school districts where they do not live in order for their children to attend certain schools. Phony businesses often use false addresses or commit other forms of fraud as well. Many of them change locations frequently, which is not necessarily fraud by itself. They might, however, also use a false location as a “warehouse” or portray a residential address as a business location by using a mail drop instead of a post office box number.
Some drivers commit forms of address fraud in order to take advantage of lenient laws in jurisdiction where they do not really live. For example, one may not qualify for a driver’s license in his/her own state, but may qualify in another. Many people claim or create addresses in states with more lenient regulations in order to avoid the costs of maintaining insurance. Political motivations can encourage address fraud as well. In such cases, voters cast their votes in precincts, where they do not live. Frequently, criminals commit address fraud simply to hide their whereabouts from law enforcement officials.
Some wealthy people will set up their official address at a low rent location in a low tax jurisdiction to avoid paying taxes at a higher rate in the jurisdiction where they actually live.
FraudLink was developed by Horizontech as a secure answer to known issues with Change of Address theft and fraud. As there can be errors and fraud associated with USPS® change of address data, credit bureaus and data compilers, Horizontech automatically identifies, flags and reports these issues from inbound undeliverable mail as potential fraud. FraudLink is just one innovation from Horizontech to help our customers automate and better manage issues with undeliverable mail. We’ve been able to build a secure net around an issue that is apparent within all industries where consumer and business information have the propensity for data issues, errors and fraud.
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