What does it mean to be approved by the US Postmaster General?

Certain types of mailboxes have to be approved by the U.S. Post Office before they can be sold to the public. Most new housing developments have the mail delivered to a central mail pod. These central mail pods must be purchased by the developer of the housing project, but once they are installed, they become the property of the U.S. Post Office.

The Post Office wants to make sure these mail repositories meet strict requirements since they become the property of the Post Office. So they subject these to extensive testing before they will approve the manufacturer to make them.

The Post Office also requires curbside mailboxes to be approved by the Post Office. These are a little different than the central pods in that they do not become the property of the U.S. Post Office. For example, the MailCase locking mailbox that you purchase from MailCase would not become the property of the U.S. Post Office, it would remain your property. If you moved to another house, you would have the choice of leaving the locking mailbox, or taking it with you to your new home.

However, these curbside locking designs still have to meet extensive specialized requirements by the U.S. Postmaster General.

Many homes in older neighborhoods still have mailboxes attached to the house. These mailboxes are actually not required to be approved by the U.S. Postmaster General. However, as locking mailbox designs become more prevalent, I think the Postmaster General will publish a standard that these mailboxes have to meet.

Why Does MailCase Even Have an Outgoing Mail Flag?

If you read my previous post about never putting your outgoing mail in your mailbox with the flag up, and instead put take it to the post office or put it in an official U.S. Postal Service blue mailbox, you may be wondering shy the MailCase locking mailbox even has a flag at all.

Well, the short answer is that we are required to by the United States Postmaster General. As long as it is in the USPS requirements, then we will continue to include a flag on our MailCase locking mailboxes.

One thing to remember is that with the MailCase, the flag is removable. So if you decide you don't even want the flag, you don't have to install it when you get your MailCase.

However, sometimes it is okay to put outgoing mail in your locked mailbox. Things like letters and personal correspondence that do not contain any sensitive financial information you do not need to take the post office and you can just put it in your MailCase. Basically anything that does not carry any risk of identity theft can be put in the MailCase.

We also include a handy clip where you can place the outgoing mail should you choose to send something that way.

Identity Theft and Outgoing Mail

It seems like every month we hear another news story about large companies who have lost or compromised large amounts of consumer data. While it is important to keep on top of these situations and be careful who you submit your personal information to, the vast majority of identity theft occurs through old fashioned low tech methods.

These include things like getting a purse or a wallet stolen, or getting mail stolen. The first piece of advice I give everybody is never put your outgoing mail in your mailbox with the flag up. Having a flag was a great idea 50 years ago to notify your mail carrier that you had outgoing mail. However, now it is just an invitation to identity thieves to come and take your mail. You are making it easy for them to know who you are, you have a RED FLAG sticking up telling them that you have outgoing mail.

The outgoing mail is the most likely kind of mail to include your sensitive information. For example, lets say you are paying your credit card bill with a check and you put it in the outgoing mail. The identity thief now has your credit card number, your address, your checking account number, and your name. With this information it is incredibly easy for the criminal to begin stealing your identity.

Never put your outgoing mail in your mailbox, even if it is a locking mailbox like a MailCase. The safest bet is to take it directly to the post office, and the next safest bet is to take it to the blue mailboxes used by the United States Post Office.

Curbside Locking Mailbox Types

There are many different locking mailbox designs on the market now. However, most are variations on the same age old designs the post office has used for decades. There are two basic types of locking mailboxes:

1. There is they kind that has a narrow slot, large enough to fit mail in and some small packages, but not so large that a normal person could not reach their hand inside and access the mail in the locked compartment below.

2. There is the kind that uses a bin, or a tray attached to a door. When you open the door, it lifts the bin. You can put your mail or any packages on the bin and when you close the door, the mail slides down the bin floor into the locked compartment below. When the door is open, the bin is configured such that you cannot reach your hand in and access the contents of the compartment below.

Which one is best? Well it depends on what your needs are. Anything that is depository for packages will be of the type with the bin attached to the door. Most overnight couriers use this type of depository device.

I will cover more about the advantages of the different types in another post.

Welcome to the MailCase blog

Hello, and welcome to the MailCase blog. Tune in regularly to find out all about locking mailboxes. We will be discussing topics like different types of locking mailboxes, reviews of existing locking mailbox designs, issues related to identity theft, and lots of other great stuff.

We are excited to have you with us. Please leave any comments to let us know how to make this blog better, or if there is anything that you would like to learn about regarding locking mailboxes.

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