Friday, September 23, 2016

USPS Hold Mail Service

If you're going to be away from home for a while, the your local post office can hold your mail to avoid an overflowing mailbox. Fine.

In the old days (and you can still do this), you went to the office and filled out a form (PDF). Someone on the show who has done this said the Postal Service doesn't validate the identity of the person who requests mail to be held. It validates only the identity of the person who comes to pick up the mail.

Government techies copied this manual system to the Internet.

You can go to https://holdmail.usps.com (or click on Hold Mail at the Postal Service home page, as shown below) and put a hold on mail delivery. Notice that I didn't say put a hold on your mail delivery. You can put a hold on mail delivered to anyone. This is true with the traditional system, too, but the Internet makes it worse, adding more anonymity and making the process easier. Too easy.



The agency site claims that it needs a name, address, and phone number to stop mail delivery. When tested, however, this turns out not to be the case. Requests with wrong names and wrong phone numbers were accepted, according to a listener who wrote in to the show. All you really need to know is an address.

And with the address, you can stop all mail delivery, not just mail to one person. Quoting from the Frequently Asked Questions: "All mail, regardless of name, will be held for the address entered. Submitting an online Hold Mail request once is all that is required to hold mail delivery for everyone at the address."

Don't have a computer? Simply call 800-ASK-USPS


Details About Hold Mail Service:

You spent months planning the perfect vacation and at last it's time to leave. The bags are packed, the car is loaded, and the dog's in the kennel. But wait. What about having days of mail stacking up in your mailbox where robbers and identity thieves might get their hands on it? No problem. Just sit down, fire up your PC, go online and arrange to have the  U.S. Postal Service (USPS) hold your mail while you're gone.

Now available online, the USPS' mail holding service offers postal customers the option of having their mail held for from 3 to 30 days quickly and easily.

"When you go on vacation, the last thing you need is to be concerned about the safety of your mail while you're away -- our Hold Mail Service addresses this issue almost effortlessly," said Francia G. Smith, USPS vice president and Consumer Advocate. "This service represents our continued commitment to increasing customer access -- making it easier and more convenient for customers to use the Postal Service when and where they need to."

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How to Do It

Once you get online, just go to the Postal Service home page and click on the Hold Mail menu option.

You'll be asked to enter your delivery address information and the dates on which you want the Postal Service to start and stop holding your mail.

At the end of the mail holding request process, you'll be given a confirmation number so you can modify the request if you come home early or decide you want to stay on vacation a little bit longer.

The online service electronically notifies your local Post Office and all of your mail will be held for the time specified and delivery is resumed on the requested date.

Having the Postal Service hold your mail while you are away is one best steps you can take to prevent having your mail stolen.

Request Mail Holding by Telephone

You can also request the USPS' mail holding service over the phone by calling toll-free 1-800-ASK-USPS and following the menu options.


Whether requested online or by phone, millions of Postal Service customers have taken advantage of this convenient service since its 2003 launch.

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