Did you know that one in seven people in the United States change their address each year? Naturally, this creates a tremendous challenge for the Postal Service, which strives to maintain a high-quality repository of current addresses.

Change-of-address requests can be made in person at local Post Offices using a hardcopy form (PS 3575), or electronically using the Internet. They can even be made over the telephone. By far, the most popular way to change one’s official address is still using the hardcopy form, but those contemplating a move should consider their options carefully.

[poll id="65"] [poll id="66"]

While the Postal Service’s change-of-address process generally works properly, our audit found that improvements are needed in the way hard copy requests are processed, authorized, and validated. Although Postal Service employees should reject and return orders with no signature, in some cases change-of-address orders without a proper signature slipped through. We also saw signature mismatches and occasions when Postal Service employees rather than customers signed or initialed the forms.

Is there a better way? We think there is. Our audit also examined the Internet and telephone change request systems. We found that these electronic alternatives are not only much more convenient for the customer, they are also far more effective in ensuring that only authorized and validated change-of-address requests are processed. Digital requests can be electronically matched against customers’ credentials quickly and efficiently. This results in a more secure environment, which is important because mail diverted to another location based upon unauthorized change-of-address orders is a major contributor to identity theft — America’s fastest growing crime.

There has to be a catch, you say. Well, there is. This service costs $1. We think it’s a bargain! To change your address online, go to moversguide.usps.com. To change your address by telephone, call 1-800-275-8777.

You should know the Postal Service does have systems in place to protect customers against unauthorized address changes. If a change of address has been submitted for you, the Postal Service will follow up with a Move Validation Letter. This letter is sent to your current address and notifies you that a request has been made to forward your mail to a new address. If you did not request to change your address, you should inform your local Post Office immediately as a potentially fraudulent situation may exist. In our audit, we found that the Postal Service generally sends these letters in a timely manner. Recently, the Postal Service has taken steps to further improve the timeliness of these letters, ensuring that they are processed within 3 to 10 days.

What do you think about the Postal Service’s change-of-address process? How can it be improved?

This topic is hosted by the OIG's Information Technology audit directorate.

Comments (248)

The most direct way to report fraud, waste, misconduct within the Postal Service is via our Hotline form

Leave a comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
  • anon

    I requested a temporary change of address recently. I'd read that we should allow 7-10 days for processing. What the USPS website did not say, however, was that processing time starts with the day you've requested your mail to start being forwarded. I handed in a forwarding request on May 14th, asking that my mail be forwarded starting May 20th. I got confirmation on May 22 that forwarding would start May 22. The 2 day discrepancy is not a big deal in this case. But mail is still being sent to the old address, received it the 25th at the old address. When I've tried to figure out why, everyone says we need to allow 7-10 days for processing - apparently starting on May 22! If that's indeed the case, it would be helpful for the USPS website to be very clear about when processing occurs, once they receive the request or starting with the day you want forwarding to start. Otherwise I think USPS is a wonderful service.

    May 26, 2017
  • anon

    I changed my address and no mail coming to my home

    May 26, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Tenia, Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service which investigates and audits internal fraud, waste, and abuse; and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, 800-275-8777, or file an online complaint with Customer Service. Very Respectfully, The USPS Office of Inspector General.

    May 26, 2017
  • anon

    CHange of address should be allowed only in person and with a proof of identity -- unauthorized change of address is now a common way to steal someone's identity. Saying that you will simply send a letter is not good enough.

    May 23, 2017
  • anon

    My parents lived with me for a few months and had their mail forwarded to my address. A few months later they moved to another address in the same state, VA. When they had their mail forwarded from my residence to another, they may have selected the family option so some of my mail with my maiden name was also forwarded. Makes some sense. When contacted to correct the problem, the post office told my husband this is our problem to deal with, yet the water company who has me forwarded to the wrong address claims we need to go through the post office. Additionally, we are discovering even more of our mail (bills) is being forwarded to my parents new address this time with my married name or my husbands name which is completely different than my parents name. This is becoming a huge mess and I am on hold now with over an hour wait time just to see if by chance someone at the post office will assist us with this issue. It's illegal for an individual to forward another's without consent, but is it legal for the post office to do so? I work for the federal judiciary and I take the responsibility of public service seriously. I hope I am able to connect with someone at USPS who shares the same sense of responsibility (I am waiting on the customer service line, as suggested). If future, why not have every individual listed for any mail forwarding requests? It doesn't see very labor intensive for a parent or spouse to list the specific members of the family who need the address forwarded. It shouldn't be a wild guess on the post office's side especially when it affects an individuals personal and financial information and obligations. Last, confirming someones intent to change their address via mail makes no sense whatsoever. If someone has moved or is in between addresses, why would you confirm via mail???

    May 23, 2017
  • anon

    I am changing my address because I am about to file for divorce and move out. Is there any way I can request for USPS to not send my change of address notifications to my old address? I do not have a protection order but I don't want my soon-to-be-ex to know beforehand anything about my impending move.

    May 22, 2017
  • anon

    I submitted a COA for my business and residence and mail has been coming to my new address fine for about 3 months. I'm still working to contact everyone with my new address. I just found out yesterday that I now have some of my recent mail going to my old address and not being forwarded at all for me and my business. The COA order is supposed to last 12 months for these items. How do I find out what's going on? I still own the house at the old address and someone still lives there so they bring in the mail everyday. But they are leaving in 2 weeks so I'm worried this un-forwarded mail will pile up. Help! Thanks.

    May 21, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service which investigates and audits internal fraud, waste, and abuse; and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service. Very Respectfully, The USPS Office of Inspector General

    May 22, 2017
  • anon

    I was late paying my post office box bill. I know i'm horrible. I told them i would do it as soon as i got paid which was four days away. When i went in to pay it. I asked for my mail. I was told that the new manager put in a new rule that when people were late paying their bill that they (the post office) was to return mail to sender and fill out a COA for the people who were late on their bill. Can they really do this? I would think that they would have to have my ok on this.

    May 19, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service at the USPS website.

    May 19, 2017
  • anon

    I have been trying since mid april to get my mail service turned back on. I was on an extended work assignment and had arranged with a neighbor to take the mail in. However, when the neighbor did not take in the mail, the post offce decided to return mail to sender. I have tried several times to get the mail turned back on but the bulk is still being returned to sender. As such, I am currently without insurance cards. Whwt does it take to fix this?

    May 17, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your comment. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777).

    May 17, 2017
  • anon

    I recently changed my address (about 2 months ago) and my address is correct, but I still do not receive any mail! I am curious if anyone else has this issue - I would really like to have this issue rectified.

    May 17, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your comment. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777).

    May 17, 2017
  • anon

    I renewed my NJ DMV registration online not realizing I have moved since and the DMV has my address as my old one but months ago I had updated a perm ant address change on the post office website. Will the post office recognize the permanent afresh change when my NJ DMV registration renewal gets mailed to me ? In another sense since this is a new registration and I made a permanent chane of address with the post office I want to make sure this will not be mailed to my old adressX

    May 16, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Gabrielle, Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service.

    May 17, 2017
  • anon

    I put in a change of address at the post office on March 21st. I received confirmation but still have not received any forwarded mail, almost two months. I have talked to both post office managers, old and new address, and both confirm the change yet they have no idea where my mail is. I'm afraid it's sitting in the Tampa location where I'm told all forwarded mail goes through. I don't know what to do at this point, two months worth of mail has vanished.

    May 15, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service at the USPS website.

    May 16, 2017
  • anon

    Hi, My Name is Carlos Navarrete. I was living with my cousin Jose Navarrete in address ”A”, last year Me and my family moved to a new address “B” my cousin stay at address “A” . I applied online to change address for me and my family to new address “B”. The issue is that Jose’s mail is coming to address “B” and he needs to get his mail back to the address “A”. What steps I need to do to correct this issue? Thank you, Carlos

    May 15, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service at the USPS website.

    May 16, 2017
  • anon

    I have changed my address now on two separate occasions using the online system. Both accounted for by the manager at each USPS branch when I finally called in to find out why I've not received my mail. The first time it happened I missed a letter from Medicaid and the state revoked my infant son's Medicaid benefits. The second time just happened so I guess I get to wait and see what the USPS has cost me and my family this time.

    May 15, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service at the USPS websit

    May 16, 2017
  • anon

    I have tried to change my address, but the USPS system believes my old address is a business. It won't let me complete the process to forward my mail. What can I do?

    May 15, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Erin, Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service which investigates and audits internal fraud, waste, and abuse; and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service. Very Respectfully, The USPS Office of Inspector General

    May 15, 2017
  • anon

    I am getting mail For a person who I did not authorized to use my mailing address how do I get it to stop.

    May 14, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Jennifer, Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service which investigates and audits internal fraud, waste, and abuse; and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service. Very Respectfully, The USPS Office of Inspector General

    May 15, 2017
  • anon

    I have a po box address and have asked the postman at my physical residence to not deliver mail at my physical address. I had put a change of address to forward all my mail from my physical address to my po box. I still do not have my AMEX card and AMEX insists on mailing to my physical address. What can be done to find out if my address has been changed or forwarded to my po box address??

    May 13, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Liz, Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service which investigates and audits internal fraud, waste, and abuse; and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service. Very Respectfully, The USPS Office of Inspector General

    May 15, 2017
  • anon

    I have tried to change my address twice within a 6 month period

    May 13, 2017
  • anon

    I need to change my adress immediately, without the new info being mailed to my old address. Please help

    May 12, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Jamie, Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service which investigates and audits internal fraud, waste, and abuse; and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service. Very Respectfully, The USPS Office of Inspector General

    May 15, 2017
  • anon

    This may sound like a stupid question, but if I requested a change of address and filled out the hardcopy, will all of the mail that has already been sent to my previous address get picked up and forwarded? Thank you for the help.

    May 12, 2017
  • anon

    No. Change of Address will only affect future mails. It may take a few days to kick in.

    May 22, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. Please contact your local Postal Service Consumer Affairs Department and they will be able to assist you.

    May 12, 2017
  • anon

    I moved from a residential home to a business address 2 years ago. I did 2 change of addresses once moving out of The business home once when I first moved out and again when I never received any mail for awhile. I have not received any of my mail for a year now. None of the post office's Will help me they say that there is nothing I can do. There has to be a way that I can get my mail again. I don't know what to do at this point. Please help me get my mail.

    May 11, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service which investigates and audits internal fraud, waste, and abuse; and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service. Very Respectfully, United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General Team

    May 12, 2017
  • anon

    My elderly parents are staying with us. They have their mail forwarded to our address. Every 6 months it seems this has to be renewed. How can we find out the date that mail will stop coming to my address? And...my mother cannot seem to locate the change of address confirmation that was sent.

    May 11, 2017
  • anon

    Ok I filled out a change of address form online for my entire family two weeks ago today I came home and I found this paper that looks like it was printed off of a regular printer asking all the name is going to be receiving mail at my house should I fill this out or no.

    May 05, 2017
  • anon

    I am moving state and so i put i a change of address for last Wednesday April 26th - but i just found out they don't deliver to that address. That i have to get a PO box.. Where or who can i contact to get the lost mail? will it still come if i change my address tomorrow online?

    May 04, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Haley, Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the United States Postal Service which investigates internal waster, fraud, and abuse; and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service the USPS website.

    May 04, 2017
  • anon

    Why can't I view my change of address order? It doesn't tell me anywhere else what the expiration date is that I requested.

    May 03, 2017
  • anon

    I want to extend my mail forwarding - can not find the location where I can put in my confirmation code, and extend the cut off date. From 5/15 - 5/27

    May 06, 2017
  • anon

    I put a change of address for me n my fiancé Steven Pratt starting the 27th of April online n I think I entered the wrong address how can I change that if I did enter it wrong? I filled out 2 online apps I paid the $1.00 for each I just want to make sure I entered the write address or do I have to submit another application. I think I entered 568 Sutton Way #266 Grass Valley,Ca 95945 and the correct address is 578 Sutton Way #266 Grass Valley, Ca 95945 and that address is for both of us. Please email me with a response as soon as possible. Please n thank you. Staci Siegel & Steven Pratt

    May 03, 2017
  • anon

    I have attempted to change my address online approximately six time. Each time the website says my card could not be charged because the address entered doesn't match that of the CC, which was incorrect. Each time I attempted the change, the $1.00 fee was taken out of my account & I am still not getting mail at my new address.

    May 02, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, (1 (800) 275-8777), or file an online complaint with Customer Service at the USPS help page.

    May 04, 2017
  • anon

    Permanent Change of Address at USPS Hi, Wondering how long will USPS continue to forward mails to new address. The duration for temporary change of address could be up to 1 year, but not sure the duration for Permanent change though.

    May 01, 2017
  • anon

    The system needs improved. My daughter moved back with us about a year ago and submitted an official change of address with the USPS. As recently as 2 or 3 months ago we believe someone submitted another change of address without her authorization. As her correctly addressed mail is being redirected to a "non-existent" address then it is returned as "non-deliverable." How can this happen. Shouldn't a person requesting a change of address have to supply a photo ID or some other proof that they are actually the person requesting the change? If not then anyone could change anyone's address without the person's knowledge. Just wondering.

    Apr 27, 2017
  • anon

    Hello i did a change if address from an address and moved back to that address now i am moving out again can i do another change of address from that same address

    Apr 24, 2017
  • anon

    I went to the local post office is Atascadero, CA, and was told they had no forms, and I had to do it online. I went to the website and it is down. We are moving soon, and I didn't anticipate the USPS would be a major source of delay. I am not a happy customer.

    Apr 20, 2017
  • anon

    Hey I was sopose to receive my epay card within 7-10 business days it's been 14-15 days I also did a change of address in between I haven't received it yet should I be concerned ? Should I cancel my card and order a new one or should I wait it out ?

    Apr 15, 2017

Pages

Share this post


Recent Comments

Monthly Archive