I’ll start with some back history about why I suspect the US Postal Service is selling our address details. About 4 years ago, while contracting as an Online Marketing Specialist before taking a position at my current employer, I was mistakenly sent a check under the name of Alternation Design, which was the brand I was using for my services, however, payment should have been made out to me personally.
Ever since that time, I have been receiving postal mail addressed to “Alternation Design”, not my name and Alternation Design, just the brand name. Everything from corporate credit card offers, to stamps and postal supplies to office furniture. I receive 3 – 5 pieces of postal mail for Alternation Design each month.
Fast forward about 2 1/2 years when I registered a domain name, AmericanEnglishRealty.com for my wife when she qualified as a realtor. About six weeks later, I received a letter in the mail from Domain SEO Service Registration Corp, who are well known for trawling the WHOIS database and spamming Email and postal addresses listed on the WHOIS database with fake SEO service renewal notices.
Three weeks later, I start receiving mail for American English Realty, which became more numerous over time, I now receive an additional 3 – 5 pieces of mail for this fictional company. At this point between the two non-existent companies, I get anywhere between 6 and 10 pieces of marketing mail sent to me monthly, often two by two, I’d receive the same marketing mail for both companies, today it was AMEX.
Given that I didn’t receive any postal mail for these fictional entities before the singular pieces of mail as described above. The only company that knew of these new entities at my address would be the US Postal Service as I had never publicized either of these brands anywhere with my address attached.
I found an article on The New York Times website, which clearly states that the USPS has been licensing a computerized list of all its change-of-address forms to marketing, insurance and credit companies. USPS claim to not be selling this information, however, USPS charge an initial licensing fee of $80,000 and a yearly charge of $52,000; given 25 years of inflation, that must be in the hundreds of thousands by now.
By licensing, albeit, for financial gain, they can skirt around the law. However, once a private company has your details, they can sell your information for profit, just go to Google and search USPS Address Lists and see for yourself. Anyone can buy these lists through third parties that have deals with the USPS.
Next time you move, don’t fill out a change of address form and don’t fill out the form that the USPS leave in your mailbox to inform them of the names of the people who live in the home. By completing these forms, you are giving them permission to
sell, sorry license that information to third parties.
To be clear, the situation I expressed in the first few paragraphs of this article has no relation to the change of address issue. But it does sound somewhat fishy, a single letter to my home address with the brand name printed and then the floodgates open, too much of a coincidence I would suggest.