a PO Box for those who dont like the glare of the sun
January 31, 2008 9:21 AM   Subscribe

I would like to know if one can open a "P.O. Box" at one of the MailBoxes Etc. places or places like it without showing ID? If so, where can one do this in the DC/VA area?

I need to open a box, but I would like to keep it on the DL. No, I am not doing anything wrong or illegal, but I would like to keep UncleSam and his goons out of my life.
posted by photodegas to Law & Government (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sorry, no. It's a stipulation of USPS rules that an Gov't issued ID is required for all personal reception points.

You could incorporate a business and have that business get a PO Box. That will get out one step out of the loop.
posted by unixrat at 9:30 AM on January 31, 2008


Have you thought of doing mail forwarding through an office address or registering a PO box with a tax ID number instead of a personal ID?
posted by parmanparman at 9:42 AM on January 31, 2008


Erm, if you aren't doing anything illegal, then the point of your question does not make sense. You will be using USPS, which is "Uncle Sam and his goons." And if you aren't doing anything illegal, then the government will never be looking into who owns the PO Box. The only time the postal service or "Uncle Sam and his goons" would ever inquire as to who owns the box would be to investigate criminal activity.

And if you are using USPS, you must show governmental id.

Sure you could set up some elaborate shell company, but there is no benefit to you.
posted by dios at 11:01 AM on January 31, 2008


Even incorporated as an LLC, I needed to show ID at my local MBE equivalent; this was explained to me as a federal law requirement.
posted by jenkinsEar at 11:17 AM on January 31, 2008


"I would like to keep it on the DL"

Disabled list?
posted by JimN2TAW at 11:32 AM on January 31, 2008


Rather than speculate on why you want this:
- Yes, MBE, and in fact anybody who leases mailboxes would require a photo ID from you. However, I doubt that MBE provides an exhaustive course in recognizing counterfeit out-of-state IDs to it's employees. Just saying.
posted by Orb2069 at 11:46 AM on January 31, 2008


I doubt that MBE provides an exhaustive course in recognizing counterfeit out-of-state IDs to it's employees. Just saying.
posted by Orb2069 at 1:46 PM on January 31


Incidentally, it would be a federal crime to use a counterfeit ID to secure a mailbox, so don't listen to this stupid fucking comment.
posted by dios at 11:48 AM on January 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've checked around, and unfortunately, it seems as though even mailbox services at the major places (FedEx, UPS Store) require ID. I advise strongly against using a fake ID. I think your best bet would be placing a classified or Craigslist ad asking for someone you don't know willing to accept your mail in their care for a fee. You can have senders write "John Smith, c/o..." before that person's name on anything sent. The upside is that you won't ever have to tell your receiver what your name is or who you are. The downsides are that you don't know how certainly you can trust them, and you'll be recognized by them. However, you'll be recognized by anybody at Mailboxes Etc anyway, so this might actually work best.
posted by koeselitz at 12:54 PM on January 31, 2008


Orb2069: Yes, MBE, and in fact anybody who leases mailboxes would require a photo ID from you. However, I doubt that MBE provides an exhaustive course in recognizing counterfeit out-of-state IDs to it's employees. Just saying.

Having called several places to find out what kind of ID they require, the general consensus is that you'll be required to present two forms of ID, at least one of which has to have a picture, and the other of which has to be a piece of mail sent to and received at the address on the picture ID. Yes, this is fakeable, but it'll be a hell of a hassle, and, again, it's probably a bad idea.
posted by koeselitz at 12:57 PM on January 31, 2008


How about opening an account with a mail forwarder in Canada or some other country? They might require an ID, but are far less likely to share the info with the US feds without some sort of criminal investigation being in the works.
posted by nomisxid at 1:52 PM on January 31, 2008


As long as you are doing it legally (and for the pure principle of privacy=freedom and freedom=privacy), there are ways to go about receiving mail in any name without violating the law. The law requires the USPS to get all the info for PO Boxes and CMRAs (like UPS Store, Postnet, etc.) must also file a form 1583 to the USPS regarding all customers receiving mail at their mailboxes. Your alternative: renting small office space in a Class D building where they offer small (sometimes shabby) space and even rent by-the-month. These places may not even ask for info or ID if you show up with cash in hand. Sometimes this isn't that much more than monthly fees for a CMRA. Rent a closet - literally. Many owners of run down office buildings will literally let you rent a closet and attach a suite number to it to increase their revenue. In either one of these scenarios, you receive mail to the name of your business or organization. I am one who understands the value of privacy to some people - and for many reasons. I know women who will do absolutely anything to not be found by abusive ex spouses or boyfriends (as just one example). There are many legitimate reasons for one to want to remain private from government and/or corporate databases. While I don't need that, I certainly respect the right for others, who feel they do, to have that right. Good luck.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 1:57 PM on January 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


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