Our illustrious postmaster, Annette, just sent me this approved editorial article to help us all with our holiday mailings. Keep it handy if/when you come upon questions about how and when to get those precious goodies mailed.
Letter to the Editor,
The holidays are just around the corner.
Thanks to more people shopping earlier and online, the U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver more than 15 billion letters and packages this holiday season.
Unfortunately, this festive time of year brings with it an uptick in mail-related crimes. That’s why the USPS is offering secure shipping tips that provide options to ensure your important packages reach their destination.
In addition, if you notice an unfamiliar vehicle following behind a postal delivery vehicle or an unknown person(s) loitering around mailboxes, immediately report the activity to your local police and alert the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at (877) 876-2455.
The package you save, may be your own.
If you feel you’re a victim of a crime involving the mail, you may submit an online complaint by visiting usps.com and select the Postal Inspectors link at the bottom of the page: https://postalinspectors.uspis,gov.
Here are the 10 ways to protect your mail and packages:
- Avoid sending cash by mail. Checks and money orders are safer than cash and may be cancelled or reissued in the event of theft.
- Don’t leave delivered mail and packages unattended. Just as wallets and purses shouldn’t be left on the front seat of an unlocked car overnight, mail and packages shouldn’t be left uncollected in mailboxes or on front porches for any length of time.
- Consider an alternate shipping address. Customers can arrange to have packages delivered to a neighbor who is home during the day or at their workplace, if permitted.
- Change the package’s address — while in transit! Customers who know they won’t be home when their package is delivered can try USPS Package Intercept. Prior to delivery, most domestic package shipments can be redirected back to the sender, to a new address or to the Post Office to be held for pickup.
- Customize the delivery. If the package doesn’t fit in the mailbox and the customer won’t be home to receive it, the customer can provide delivery instructions online and authorize the carrier to leave it in a specified location. Visit usps.com, enter the tracking number and select Delivery Instructions. Customers can also request their packages be left with a neighbor or held at a Post Office for pickup.
- Plan ahead – ship using Hold for Pickup. When shipping packages, customers can choose the Hold for Pickup option and the recipients can collect the packages at their local Post Office. For customers receiving packages, they can redirect incoming packages to their local Post Office by selecting Hold for Pickup using USPS Package Intercept.
- Going out of town? Hold mail at the local Post Office. Instead of risking leaving a package unattended for an extended period of time, customers who plan to be away from home for a few days are encouraged to take advantage of the Request Hold Mail service. Letters and packages will be held securely at the local Post Office until the customer returns.
- Secure the shipment using USPS Signature Services. Signature Services help ensure the package ends up in the right hands by requiring a signature at the time of delivery.
- Choose the most secure form of delivery. For the most valuable packages, customers can opt for Registered Mail service. Registered Mail receives special handling from the time it’s mailed until it’s delivered, documenting the chain of custody.
- A Post Office Box might be the answer. Customers concerned about the security of their mail can consider renting a Post Office Box at their local Post Office. The mail remains secure within the Post Office, accessible only when using the right key or combination. Many Post Office lobbies are open 24/7, allowing customers to retrieve mail on their schedule.
Important 2018 Holiday Shipping Deadlines
The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by Dec. 25 to Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office and domestic addresses*:
|Nov. 6||APO/FPO/DPO (all ZIP Codes) USPS Retail Ground|
|Dec. 4||APO/FPO/DPO (ZIP Code 093 only) Priority Mail® and First-Class Mail|
|Dec. 11||APO/FPO/DPO (all other ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail|
|Dec. 14||USPS Retail Ground|
|Dec. 18||APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express|
|Dec. 20||First-Class Mail (including greeting cards)|
|Dec. 20||First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)|
|Dec. 20||Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail|
|Dec. 20||Priority Mail|
|Dec. 20||Alaska to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail|
|Dec. 22||Alaska to mainland Priority Mail Express|
|Dec. 22||Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail Express|
|Dec. 22||Priority Mail Express|
*Not a guarantee, unless otherwise noted. Dates are for estimated delivery before December 25. Actual delivery date may vary depending on origin, destination, Post Office acceptance date and time and other conditions. Some restrictions apply. For Priority Mail Express® shipments mailed December 22 through December 25, the money-back guarantee applies only if the shipment was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted, within two (2) business days.
Skip the Trip and Ship Online
Consumers don’t even have to leave home to ship their packages, simply visit usps.com. The Postal Service anticipates Dec. 17 will be the Postal Service’s busiest day online with more than 8 million consumers predicted to visit usps.com for help shipping that special holiday gift. It’s predicted that nearly 105 million consumers will visit the USPS website between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. And usps.com is always open.
It’s estimated nearly 400,000 consumers will use the Click-N-Ship feature and other online services on Dec. 17 to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup.
New for this Year
Packages and cards have been sent on time, now what? USPS Informed Delivery* is the Postal Service’s free daily digital preview of what’s coming to your mailbox. This holiday season, not only can you manage your packages and sneak a peek at cards headed your way, you can also see some exterior images of magazines and catalogs — all from your mobile app, dashboard, tablet or computer. Informed Delivery is one more way the Postal Service is helping you anticipate, communicate and celebrate this holiday season. Sign up or learn more at informeddelivery.usps.com.
- From Blythe: Signing up for USPS Informed Delivery isn’t quick and is only fairly easy! Lots of steps (for security reasons I’m sure) and the “bouncing ball path” isn’t always clear. I succeeded so you probably can too.