Can someone legally use your address? While it might not be explicitly illegal for a person to use another's address of their own, the legal dilemma may revolve around fraud. In short, fraud is the deliberate deception of another person with the intention of harm or damage. However, this damage doesn't have to be physical in nature. It's often financial. So, what to do if someone uses your address without permission?
If someone causes damage in the process of falsely using your address, she or he could be in violation of laws against fraud. It really all depends on the criminal laws written in your jurisdiction. If a person decides to use your address in order to gain residency, there are certain documents that can be used to prove an address without using utility bills.
Legal Backfire From Using Another Person's Address
There's legislation both on the federal and state levels that prohibit the intentional falsification of a mailing address. This would definitely apply to a person using another's address as their own. This fraudulent scheme can result in time in prison and/or fines, according to a U.S. Code Title. Using a fake address could also result in legal trouble on a state level. For instance, Florida legislation states that misusing another person's address or name without their knowledge in an effort to obtain merchandise or refunds from a business is a type of misdemeanor. Keep in mind that the specific laws will vary depending on which state you're in.
What To Do If Someone Uses Your Address Without Permission?
There are a few steps you could take if you suspect someone has been misusing your address. Maybe you've been receiving mail that's addressed to another person or have experienced other peculiar events that make you wonder if someone is falsely claiming your mailing address. The right steps will entirely depend on the ways the person uses your address.
You should mark any unopened and unwanted packages or mail with “return to sender” or “not at this address” messages. You could hand them directly to the postman or simply leave the problematic mail in the mailbox. It's also a good idea to tell the postman that this address isn't where the recipient of the mail lives.
If you find a renewal notice and/or other important pieces of mail addressed to another person in your mailbox, don't open them. Instead, get in touch with the associated companies and let them know that the address is wrong. This can help to get the ball rolling on finding out who is using your address illegally and ensures you don't receive any more mail from those senders. It's also a good idea to visit a local USPS office and file a formal complaint about the unwanted mail.
If you suspect that your address is being used by another person, feel free to contact the USPIS at(877) 876-2455. You can also file a report online at the official USPIS website if that's more convenient.
If there's a person using your physical address for proving their residence, obtaining a driver's license, or gaining insurance, you should get into contact with the police to report the incident. There are non-emergency numbers to use if you want. You could also just visit a station in person to file the report. The police will be able to clarify the ruling laws in your home state and help determine if the person who is using your address is actually committing a crime or not.