Post office change of address card concerns
April 24, 2008 10:31 AM   Subscribe

If I'm concerned about basic privacy, should I use the US Post Office change of address form? Has anyone had any negative experiences with it?

I'm not too concerned with bulk mailers finding me, since that's inevitable, however I do have some concerns about who the Post Office distributes the address change info to since they're roped in with all kinds of private partnerships. Any insight here? Am I going to end up on Zabasearch by filling one of these out?
posted by crapmatic to Law & Government (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Define "basic privacy." What, exactly, are you trying to prevent?

Pretty well anybody who needs to mail you something can get your new address from the post office if you submit the form.
posted by Leon-arto at 10:35 AM on April 24, 2008

Not sure exactly what you are worried about, but your change of address info will be sold by the post office.

you will almost instantly get a home depot "welcome to your new home" coupon, companies will send you info on blinds, carpets, moving services etc....
posted by Mr_Chips at 10:47 AM on April 24, 2008

Well, I just checked zabasearch for myself, and it doesn't have the last 3 addresses for me, and I filled out the post office card every time. So you're probably safe there.
posted by JanetLand at 10:58 AM on April 24, 2008

For what it's worth, when we moved about six months ago, we did a change of address to a PO box. From that point, we filtered out all the mail that warranted us doing an address change directly with the sender (bills, magazines, etc).

After about four months in the new place, once we had done all the address-changing we needed to, we just canceled the PO box.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 11:00 AM on April 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't use it. I would contact everyone myself and give them my new address. While you're at it, this is a good time to get a P.O. Box and never let any mail go to your home. Nobody needs to know where you live unless you expressly want them to know. And no, the Post Office does not allow use of their P.O. Box numbers for junk mail (meaning they don't sell the lists). The COA forms? Count on them being sold.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 11:00 AM on April 24, 2008

Nthing getting a PO box (when Mr. Adams and I moved and wanted to be selective about folks knowing our new address, we rented a box at one of those Mailboxes, Etc. drops). Notify those family and friends personally who need to know your new physical address, but I'd go with a mail drop for all other correspondence.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:32 PM on April 24, 2008

If I had known that the post office does indeed sell this information, I would have not used the change of address form. Bonus points to Doofus Magoo for that awesome idea, too.

You will definitely get on a lot of mailing lists.
posted by odinsdream at 1:26 PM on April 24, 2008

The post office will provide that info for free to absolutely anyone who asks. All they have to do is send a letter to your old address, marked 'address correction requested'. The post office will notify them of the address you provided on the change of address form.

So if you're uncomfortable with that possibility, don't use the form.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 3:39 PM on April 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

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