When we were preparing an out-of-state move, I made a list of all the places that have our address. The list is surprisingly long: every bank and credit union, every credit card, every brokerage firm, the 529 plan, TreasuryDirect, the IRS (for IP PIN and EFTPS), the state tax authority, insurance companies, PayPal, Costco, REI, airlines and hotel loyalty programs, and all membership organizations.
After we moved, we rented a PO Box from the post office. Because we will move again when we buy a home, using a PO Box saves us the trouble of changing our mailing address all over again with every place. Wherever we can, we turn on paperless statements and paperless billing. Still, some places have a habit of sending mail. We’d like to make sure we get the important mail.
COVID-19 adds a wrinkle to going to the Post Office to retrieve mail. We’d like to minimize the number of trips. Ideally we will go only when we know we have important mail. Is there a way to see what’s coming into your PO Box?
When we owned our home, I had the free Informed Delivery service by the U.S. Post Office. They send me an email every morning with images of that day’s incoming mail. When I signed up, I had to go through identity verification. They used information from my credit report to verify my identity and my address. How does identity verification work for a PO Box?
It turned out that Informed Delivery also works for a PO Box, only slightly differently than for a residential address. If you already have a USPS account with Informed Delivery for your physical address, you can’t just add a PO Box to the same account. You have to create a separate account with a different user name (but the two accounts can use the same email address). To verify that you have access to that PO Box, the Post Office will send a letter with a random code to the PO Box. When you get that letter, you enter the random code in your new USPS online account. That confirms you are in control of the PO Box. After that step, you will start getting emails with images of incoming mail just as you do for a residential address.
Whether it’s for a residential address or a PO Box, I find the Informed Delivery service quite helpful. Especially for a PO Box, it saves you from making unnecessary trips to the post office only to see that you have nothing important in your box.
More info: Informed Delivery® – The Basics, USPS
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