Tuesday, April 14, 2020

SOL Tuesday: Beware!

This was not a scam exactly, but it was a private company attempting to capture new customers by making it look like the U.S. Postal Service was offering me free stamps and a new service.
            Last week I got an envelope with this letter, a “test sheet,” and what looks like blank stamps. Normally, I have no trouble going to the Post Office—there’s one just a block away, and if there’s a line, I can use the machine or come back another day. But in the time of pandemic, it would help to have what looks like some free stamps, and I thought this was a new way for the Post Office to make money. I’ve gotten lots of e-mails about the current administration wanting to privatize the government postal service.
            So I went to the website, www.stamps.com/GetStamps, and plugged in my “promo code.” This sent me to a page where I had to put in my credit card info, which should have stopped me right there. I did
notice the notice on the side of the page saying I would be charged $17.99 a month for this service, and that, too, should have stopped me right there. But self-quarantine must be affecting my brain, because I just filled in all the blanks and went to the next screen.
            Here was where I was supposed to print my free stamps. But there was no way to do that. Hmmm. Okay. I’ll do something about this later.
            Today, I called the U.S. Postal Service. “Longer than usual wait times” meant that I left my phone number, and a customer service person, Keith, called me a couple of hours later.
            After I explained my dilemma, Keith said this was not something the U.S.P.S. had sent out. Oh, really? Had I been scammed? I looked more closely at the letter and realized the official-looking logo at the top of the letter said “Approved Licensed Vendor.” Aha, not the post office, a third-party company.
            I went to Stamps.com’s website, found customer service, called the number, got a recording where I could close my account, which I did promptly. And I will now call my credit card company to tell them to cancel any charge from this company.
            Have you gotten anything like this in the mail?
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