It seems that every business these days is hopping on the digital bandwagon. There is an app to have almost anything delivered to your home. Major retailers like Whole Foods now offer grocery delivery services and Uber Eats will deliver your late night cheeseburger fix to your door. Even mail delivery is becoming more digitalized every day. Amazon has drones delivering our packages and now most recently, the USPS is stepping up their digital game. Earlier this year, The US Postal Service rolled out a free new service called Informed Delivery.
So what is it?
The service essentially allows the user to preview an image of the letter size mail that is scheduled to be delivered that day. Informed Delivery is available as an app for your smartphone or on your laptop. You can sign up through USPS’s website, if the service is available in your area. The program will deliver email notifications to your inbox Monday through Saturday, with the only exceptions being days the mail does not run such as holidays. You will receive up to 10 images per email. The images are simply digital scans of the front of the envelope.
Informed Delivery began as a pilot program in 2014 in parts of Virginia and Washington, D.C. After receiving “tremendously positive” feedback the USPS decided to expand the program’s availability to rest of the country. The program is currently only available to residential addresses and does not serve P.O. boxes.
What’s Cool About It
It’s a nice convenience to know what’s scheduled to arrive in your mailbox each day. Especially if you live with roommates or in multi-family households where your sometimes important pieces of mail may get lost in the shuffle. But it’s also a great protection against identity theft. If you were expecting a credit card bill or other piece of mail containing sensitive personal information, you would definitely want to know if it had gone missing. The app allows you to easily file a report for missing mail.
The other great advantage to informed delivery is it allows frequent travelers to know what they’re missing while they’re away from home. If you’ve ever left the country only to come home to weeks worth of unpaid bills you forgot to pay, this program could certainly save you a lot of headaches.
But Is it A Security Liability?
There has been some backlash from consumers expressing concern over the cyber safety of a program like this. If a hacker were to get into your email account and see all of your mail, they could do some serious damage.
I mean really, lets not make things easier for the stalker types. Am I right?
Adam Levin, co-founder of CyberScout said in a statement to NBC News:
“If your account is compromised, criminals will know when something of value that they can cash, charge or use for the purpose of exploiting your identity is coming to your mailbox and be there to grab it before you do. That’s why it’s imperative that you use a long and strong password for a service like this. It also needs to be a unique password that you don’t share or use for any other websites.”
In conclusion, The USPS Informed Delivery program is awesome for tracking your mail and packages. Most of us use our smart phones every day to organize our lives and stay on top of news and events. So why not use them to track our mail?
Our two cents? Were all for it. But proceed with caution.