Thousands of homeowners in Florida may want to find out whether the applications or checks they mailed to Citizens Property Insurance last month made it to the right place.
Citizens Property recently alerted 213,000 customers and applicants that someone successfully - and fraudulently - changed its address through the U.S. Postal Service in June. According to the Palm Beach post, postal inspectors do not believe any mail was diverted to the new address, but the insurer, a public insurance company which provides property insurance to those who cannot get private coverage, is taking no chances.
"I can tell you with certainty that thousands of people have not been impacted, but we have to notify thousands of people in case one is," Christine Turner Ashburn, Citizens' director of legislative and external affairs, told the newspaper. "It's just too risky not to take this seriously."
The paper said Citizens Property only found out about the change of address on June 29 when it received a confirmation letter that was mailed to its headquarters. A fraudster was able to fill out an online change-of-address form to reroute mail sent to the company's main address in Jacksonville, but a second attempt to reroute mail sent to its P.O. box was stopped before it took effect. The company says it saw no noticeable drop in mail to its headquarters, and the phony address did not receive the large amount of mail experts would expect to have seen in the event that their ploy worked.
One post office spokesman said that the mail carrier where the letters were to have been rerouted would have recognized anything unusual sent there. Along those same lines, every one of the 1,394 applicants or policyholders that has called the company's specially-installed hotline found that their letter was accounted for.
Citizens said any mail sent between June 14 and 29 would be the most likely to be affected by the change of address. Anyone with an outstanding balance or payment due during that window, as well as those who had an application in the company's system that needed a signature to be mailed in, were alerted to the potential threat.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel said that applicants should have particular concern because the things they mailed in would have contained Social Security numbers, dates of birth and addresses. Any criminal with this information could easily steal their identity.