How we monitor and prevent illegal (and sometimes eyebrow-raising) activity

How we monitor and prevent illegal (and sometimes eyebrow-raising) activity


The internet is a wonderful thing. It allows us to communicate in real time with people all over the world. It allows political movements to organise across borders. It allows cultural organisations to interact and share ideas. It allows businesses to reach customers – from global brands to tiny niche enterprises. On the flipside, of course, it also enables fraudsters to ply their trade. As a result, we all have to do our bit to stay vigilant.


At Expost, we offer our customers the best of both worlds. We operate online for maximum convenience. But the service we offer is a postal address in the real world, at any of eight locations across the UK and Ireland. This service enables those with no fixed abode to receive mail at their convenience. And to open bank accounts and avail themselves of other services that require a permanent address. It allows expats to retain a virtual foothold back home. And it gives small businesses a separate address in a geographical location that suits the identity of the company. Even if they are run from home in another part of the country.


We are not naïve enough not to realise that all of the above could also appeal to ‘customers’ with less than benign intentions. And having operated for more than 20, we have encountered more than our fair share of dodgy characters! We know there are some who seek to take advantage of a service like ours to afford themselves fraudulent credibility. That’s why we take great care to verify our customers’ identities.


Like all virtual address and mailbox providers, we are bound by strict anti-money-laundering and counter-terror funding laws with a view to preventing fraud and protecting national security. Key to this is our rigorous ID verification process. We require all customers to provide two forms of ID including at least one form of photo ID, a proof of current or previous address and a ‘selfie’. Our compliance team is on hand to guide customers through the process, recognising that not all customers have a current address, but ensuring we confirm who our customers are.  


We are also vigilant in investigating any suspicious activity to ensure no criminals are able to abuse our service. In one case, this activity involved ID verification of a rather different kind. Suspicions were raised about a company offering DNA tests for dogs to verify breeds etc. They asked for a swab and a photograph to be sent to one of our addresses, but it was alleged they simply used the latter, not bothering to conduct DNA tests at all. We tested this ourselves by submitting a picture of a Doberman along with a swab from a Scottie terrier. Sure enough, the results came back as 100% Doberman! We immediately closed the account.



We run a successful business serving law-abiding citizens, so it is absolutely not in our interests to allow dodgy customers to tarnish our reputation. That’s why we do not tolerate any unlawful activity. Any mail that arrives at one of our centres without a valid account is returned immediately to the sender, marked ‘not known at this address’. And if information about illegal use of our service is brought to our attention, we will not hesitate to close the account and share information with the relevant authorities. That’s why our law-abiding customers (the vast majority) can rest assured that we have their safety and security at heart.

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