GREENSBORO, N.C. — When you want to find something, figure out how to do something, get a question answered, you Google it. It’s what you do.
When a Triad man wanted to change his address, he Googled ‘change of address’. Not every search comes up the same. There are algorithms and cookies that play into it. Steve Crist got a page that had a list of sources that would help make the change of address, but on the top choices, there wasn’t a listing for USPS.
Instead, the site Steve clicked on he says was USP.com. It’s close to the USPS.com website, but not the same.
“You got to be on your guard. They change one character and there you are. You need to know what website you're looking for exactly. If there's one letter different, avoid it like the plague,” said Steve Crist.
Crist has temporarily changed his address every year. He and his wife summer up north and then come back to the Triad for the fall and winter. He’s changed his address online before and didn’t think anything of all the fine print on the website he was on, because he thought it was the government site.
“If there is the fine print, as painful as it is, you should probably read it,” said Crist.
While Crist was waiting for his address to be changed, he got a charge for $89.00. The actual price charged by USPS is just $1.10. He thought it was a scam. As it turns out, it’s a third-party company, making money off of people who don’t quite read all the fine print.
Third-party companies are allowed to advertise and offer you "help" in changing your address, renewing your driver's license, finding you unclaimed cash. The problem is, their "help" isn't free, it's a service that's paid for.
Crist tried to get the bank to reverse the charges, but it’s not a scam, the company did perform the service, even if they mistakenly made it permanent versus temporary.
“If you Google something, make sure it doesn't say ad. Have your radar up anytime you’re online,” said Crist.