How many times have you walked to the mailbox or driven to the post office and only found junk mail? The Post Office will now send you photos of you what’s coming every morning.
The mail has run but is it really worth your time and effort to walk all the way to the mailbox if all that’s in there is junk? If your mail comes to a post office box should you take the time to drive there if you’ll only see a few flyers and offers?
The U.S. Postal Service has a little-known feature that answers the question: “did I get any mail?”.
Informed Delivery is a fairly new feature the USPS offers residents. It snaps a photo of your incoming mail and sends it to you in an email or you can see the pictures on the Postal Service website. To sign up you need a Post Office web account. You’ll answer some security questions to prove you are who you say you are and whether you actually reside at the address. The questions are about your previous addresses, your height and the color of one of your automobiles.
Once you’re approved you can sign up for notifications on your phone, email or website notifications. Each morning you can see actual photos of the envelopes that will arrive in your mailbox later in the day. If you don’t receive one of the envelopes you can report that to the Post Office.
I signed up to see how well it works and got 5 photos of letters in my email inbox. When the mail arrived I found each letter inside. The mailman hadn’t even heard about Informed Delivery but told me he was going to sign up when he got home.
There are some privacy and security concerns with Informed Delivery. For example, anyone can log on and say they live at a certain address even if they don’t. The security questions are too easy. You can find out where anyone lived 5-10 years ago and anyone can see the color of your car by looking in your driveway.
But a spokesperson with the Postal Service told me there are safety measures in place and that if someone signs up to be informed of pre-deliveries, an actual letter will go out to the residence or P.O. Box informing them that someone is getting notifications and photos of your mail. Whether that is enough to calm fears is another thing.
Informed Delivery was actually launched by the Postal Service mid-2017 and I was told that nearly 8.9 million people have signed up to receive the notifications.