(WKBN) – In an effort to prevent identity theft and theft in general, the United State Post Office is implementing steps to its change of address procedures.

Beginning May 31, the Postal Service will offer enhanced in-person change of address transactions at Post Offices and retail outlets where customers will verify their identity with an approved form of ID.

In April, the Postal Service started a dual authentication verification service for online change of addresses to provide security controls. Customers wanting a change of address will now receive a validation letter at their old address and an activation letter at their new address.

As an additional safeguard, the Post Office will no longer accept third-party change of address submissions.

There were more than 33 million change of address submissions last year.

The new change of address protocol is part of a wider effort of the Post Office to reduce theft and fraud. New collection boxes and electronic locks are being installed nationwide and a crackdown on fake postage is being implemented.

Here’s how you can help protect your mail:

  • Don’t let incoming or outgoing mail sit in your mailbox. You can significantly reduce the chance of being victimized by simply removing your mail from your mailbox every day. 
  • Deposit outgoing mail through a number of secure manners including inside your local Post Office or at your place of business or by handing it to a letter carrier.
  • Sign up for Informed Delivery and get daily digest emails that preview your mail and packages scheduled to arrive soon.
  • Become involved and engaged in your neighborhood via neighborhood watches and local social media groups to spread awareness and share information.
  • Keep an eye out for your letter carrier. If you see something that looks suspicious, or you see someone following your carrier, call 911.  

Customers are encouraged to report stolen mail as soon as possible by submitting an online complaint to the Postal Inspection Service at www.uspis.gov/report or by calling 877-876-2455. Additionally, individuals are encouraged to report allegations of Postal Service employee misconduct, including attempts to corrupt a Postal Service employee, to the USPS OIG at 1-888-877-7644 or www.uspsoig.gov.