DENVER (CBS4)– A Globeville woman’s recent mail service raised a red flag, but not the one on her mailbox. Betty Lopez does most of her business offline, so her mailbox is rarely empty. However, she hasn’t received a single letter in the last 10 days.
“I didn’t think much of it until the third day. I knew something wasn’t right because I was waiting for an important document to come in,” said Lopez.
She says she’s lived in the same home for 34 years and never had problems with her mail. Lopez mailed a letter to herself from a different address to confirm the problem. She never received her own letter.
“I contacted the United States Postal Service. I learned somebody had put a hold on my mail,” said Lopez, confirmation receipt in hand. “This says it’s for my ex-roommate, but he has been out since April.”
The hold appears to be requested by her old roommate. Lopez asked him about the hold, and he told her he changed his address and has been receiving mail at his new home. He assured Lopez that he did not schedule the hold.
“Once they put a hold on someone’s mail, they do it for the whole house. They don’t care who lives there. They put a hold on the whole house,” explained Lopez.
In a statement, USPS confirms, writing: “An address can have only one Hold Mail service in effect at a time. Hold Mail service will hold all mail (including letters and packages) for all individuals at the specified address.”
Requesting a hold is as easy as going online and entering your name, address, email and telephone number. According to USPS, the company verifies this information to determine eligibility. However, no other proof of identification, like a driver’s license, is required.
Lopez and her old roommate suspect someone else requested the hold. Neither are sure what that person’s intentions could be.
“You can steal someone’s mail and get all the information to do that, and someone’s email,” said Lopez. While proof of identification isn’t needed to request the hold, USPS says ID is required to retrieve the mail that was held from the post office.
Not receiving letters is one thing, but Lopez’s mother also lives at the home. Her mother has critical medication that is delivered to their home.
“It’s not a game. It’s so serious. How can people do this to people? How many people has this happened to?” asked Lopez.
USPS told Lopez about a new service called Informed Delivery. It’s a free service that allows you to digitally preview your mail that’s scheduled to arrive soon. [https://informeddelivery.usps.com/box/pages/intro/start.action]. Lopez has already signed up.
“I’m actually considering a P.O. Box, too. What shocks me is that anyone can do this to other people,” Lopez said.
According to USPS, an unauthorized hold mail request is illegal: “Individuals who fill out a Hold Mail request on our website confirm that he or she is the person, executor, guardian, authorized officer, or agent of the person for whom mail would be redelivered under this order. Anyone submitting false or inaccurate information on this form is subject to punishment by fine or imprisonment or both under Sections 2, 1001, 1702 and 1708 of Title 18, United States Code.”