Here at US Global Mail, it is our intention to make sure we address every single question you may have, when it comes to mail forwarding and mail scanning. As part of that effort, today we will be discussing a very common question you have been asking us surrounding how to forward mail to another address.
In order to do this however, you will need to realize the different reasons you would want to forward a letter to someone (or yourself). But before we get into all of that, let’s take a look at the problems that can arise if you do not forward postal mail to the correct person (whether that be you or someone else.)
You Might Pay Their Bills Late
A survey was conducted a few years ago on 2,000 homeowners relating to the problems they had when they forgot to change their mailing address. While this was performed in the United Kingdom, it is clear that these issues related to the United States of America as well.
It was unfortunate really just how many of these people were late paying their bills because they forgot to fill out a change of address form. We don’t need to tell you how disastrous the consequences of this could be. Yup, it’s not fun.
You Might Become a Victim of Identity Theft
To be completely honest with you, this one pretty much ties in with our mailbox burglary point below. However, it can be so damaging that we felt we should give identify theft its own section.
Typically, if someone is stealing your mail to take your identity, they are going to be smart about it. They might grab a piece here and there over a long period of time until they have all the information they require. Having said this, some might take letters from loads of different people throughout a couple of weeks after carefully planning a zip code-wide scheme. It really does depend.
The main question remains though; why do people steal identities? Truthfully, it all boils down to one thing: money. Thieves believe that identity theft is a pretty risk-free way of getting their hands on some cash quickly. Of course, swiping your mail isn’t necessarily the only way they can take your information. Generally, they tend to be charming, sweet, and friendly — this is a ruse to let your guard down. But just remember that they may not be innately evil people. We’re not trying to say that they are. However, it is very likely that their actions will cause you (and even your family) some serious problems.
You Might Become a Victim of Mailbox Burglary (This Could Be Worse Than You Think)
Mailbox burglary is a real and devastating act to be a victim of (even though it may not seem like it at the moment). However, when you dig down to the bare bones of the documents and packages that people have sent via mail, the effects of someone stealing them can be awful.
So, what might they take from your previous mailbox if you forget to complete the United States Postal Service’s change of address form? Let’s have a gander at some of the articles that we know have been swiped from people:
- Birthday presents sent from family members who live overseas
- Tax returns
- Legal business documentation
- Pay slips
- Invoices (for services like building work, renovations, and more)
- Cash (yes, it isn’t wise to send paper money in the post but some people still do)
- Family member’s ashes (this is quite a morbid one but it has happened in the past)
- New phones, tablets, and computers
- Utility bills (causing you to pay your bills incredibly late)
- Items you’ve purchased online
- Mortgage agreements
- Rental agreements
- Contracts (whether related to your business or your home)
- And so much more.
See? It can be truly heartbreaking and soul-crushing because it isn’t just you these people are destroying; it’s those you might owe money too as well.
Thankfully though, there are some steps you can take to eliminate this horrible worldwide mail burglary issue. Before we get onto the brass tacks of this article, we want to divulge these secrets. Ready? Excellent.
If you know that you haven’t changed your address yet, you must do it right now. All you have to do is go to the USPS website, enter your information, and away you go! Alternatively, you can head into your local post office and ask for a Mover’s Guide Pack. Inside this, you will find a PS Form 3575 which you need to fill out and hand it to the worker behind the counter or put it in the mail slot inside the office.
However, there may be a reason why you can’t change it right now, so, what can you do? We are about to tell you!
- Make sure you ask a trusted person near your previous location to pick up any mail that might be there. This will stop unwanted personnel from getting their mucky paws all over your precious documents.
- Put people off sending you cash so no one can steal it before you receive the envelope.
- If you can, try to visit your previous place as soon as the mail has been delivered.
Okay, now that we are certain you know how to prevent these issues, we will crack on with why you’re all here — to find out why you may need to forward postal mail, and how to do it.
It is no secret to anyone that when it comes to forwarding mail, the USPS occasionally drops the ball. After all, who could blame them? There are over 150 million addresses in the US that receive mail, and at some point, there has to be some kind of mis-delivery. It is statistically impossible for the contrary to happen.
Although it’s a large market, the USPS has indeed been seeing a decline in the quality of the service. There are several reasons as to why that is happening including federal employee shortages, zip code politics, and more.
The bottom line is, however, at some point, we all get “Mr. Baker’s” mail or our mail is sent accidentally to “Mr. Baker.”
Which raises the question; what can you do?
Most likely, there will be some issue in the address of that envelope. It is so easy to misplace a zip code digit or address the wrong state. For example, there is the city of Columbia in South Carolina, and the city of Columbia in Maryland. If there is some kind of a mistake at the mail processing center that the USPS has, it could easily be sent north or south.
The best option available in such cases, is speaking with a USPS representative. Call your local Post Office and follow their instructions on how to handle this. The most likely scenario will be that they hold that mail until it is claimed by the person it was intended to be sent to. Such unclaimed mail can be found in the USPS Mail Recovery centers.
Change Forwarding Address
People move in life, and probably you have moved at some point if your life too. But not only does your physical address need to change in that process, but also your mailing address.
Unless you fill out a change of address form and submit it to the USPS, you will still get mail to your old location. The good news is, a change of address is the least bureaucratic process the federal government has in place.
Below we will be explaining how to forward snail mail.
Some important things to know are that you can have a temporary change of address (15 days to 1 year) and a permanent change of address. You will also want to make sure that you complete this process directly with the USPS, instead of using third party services. Doing a change of address will only cost you $1 for verification purposes, while completing an address change with a third-party service would cost you anywhere from $50 -$100 (and they would be submitting the information on your behalf).
To have the USPS forward mail to a new address, make sure to complete the change of address online or offline by visiting your local branch. Regardless of which option you choose, you will need 2 forms of ID with you. Of course, these need to be accepted by your state and the American government. One should be a photo ID and it’s necessary that the other one shows your new address. For example, you could bring in your driver’s license and a utility bill, or your military identification card and your rental or mortgage agreement. There are lots of options.
Roommate/Family Moves Out
When a family member or roommate decides to move out, it is very possible that you will continue to receive their mail either on an ordinary basis or more rarely. If the former keeps happening, most likely they never completed or did not fully complete the USPS change of address process.
The good news is, you can have them do so, or if it’s a really close family member, you can do this for them.
If it is something a bit rarer, then it is possible that the USPS goofed. Again, they handle over 150 million addresses, and it is reasonable to expect that, at some point, they would miss a few pieces here and there.
To forward a letter sent to the wrong address, simply cross out the address on the envelope and rewrite the new address in black letters. Then simply place it into the mailbox and your mail carrier will take it from there.
Another option would be for you to reach out to the sender and notify them that your friend or family member has recently moved. You can write up a letter and send it to their address, or even call them and coordinate it with your former roommate.
What You Can Do To Forward Postal Mail To The Right Recipient
Sometimes, when you get mail that belongs to someone else, it can just be a matter of a wrong zip code in the nearby area or even another home within your neighborhood. Depending on how far that individual is, you may want to consider actually dropping the envelope at their home. This will help you explain to them any regular mail you are getting from them, and any potential change of address that was not completed from them that they need to handle. If you would rather simply drop the envelope in their mailbox, that is an option as well. It is perfectly legal to open someone’s mailbox, just as long as it is not a locked mailbox.
When you get someone’s mail, many times it will be quite a few zip codes off; a wrong digit can set you hundreds of miles away. And to be honest, most of the wrong mail you get, will belong to another location very far from where you are. Whatever you do, do not throw away the envelope. Instead, just write a note (e.g. wrong address) and place it in your mailbox or the outgoing box. When the mailman comes in the next day, they will be able to take it and get it delivered to the right side of town.
Something to keep in mind when writing out the note is that you shouldn’t write it directly on the envelope and deface someone else’s mail. If you do so, you may ruin the recipient’s mail. The best option to adding a note, is to add it on the envelope with a paper clip.
Is It Free To Forward Mail?
Forwarding mail can be done at no cost, through the USPS. In order to have your mail forwarded, you will first need to complete a change of address form with the USPS. Depending on whether you complete the change of address offline (at a the post office,) or online (through the USPS website,) there will be a small $1.05 fee. This is to verify your identity.
When completing a change of address at the post office, you will want to bring with you two forms of ID. There you will be asked to fill out the change of address form and sign it at the bottom.
A Virtual Mailbox Alternative
You must be wondering; is there a better way?
And actually, there is! Plus, it is far simpler than you might be imagining right now.
For some reason, our phones have gone wireless, our cars no longer drive with a stick (in fact, some even park themselves!), we are able to shop online instead of relying on offline commerce and we trust our financial information on a banking app.
Yet we still keep receiving mail the old-fashioned way. Admittedly, e-mail was not capable of replacing paper mail entirely. But there is no real need for getting any piece of mail in your physical mailbox anymore, especially considering that 95% of it is junk mail anyway.
In the past 10 years, more and more people are switching to a virtual mailbox alternative. The convenience of accessing your mail from the comfort of your home, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with a click of a button, seems very appealing. Although, we should mention that you don’t need to actually be at home to access your letters — you can be sitting on a beach in the Seychelles and still look at what’s coming in!
Additionally, mail forwarding can be reliably handled, because it is all accessed online. So, whether your roommate moves, or you need to move, nobody would need to follow through with the bureaucratic change of address procedures.
Getting all your mail online is also an excellent way to prevent mail theft which is raising plague in this country and the leading cause for identify theft. All mail is encrypted, making online cloud storage (via the secure AWS cloud) the safest alternative to vulnerable residential mailboxes.
So, what are you waiting for? Sign up today and find freedom with online mailboxes.
Oh, we forgot something! The best part is that virtual mailboxes are half the price of a physical mailbox.
For any questions, you can contact us here. We are always happy to help you out with your concerns and queries so we can find the best service that suits you!