How to Stop Mail Online

How to Stop Mail Online
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Throughout your life, you’ll find different reasons for needing to stop your mail – temporarily or permanently. You might go on vacation, leave the country for a time, move or close an account for a deceased relative, friend or client. Whatever your reason for needing to stop mail delivery, if you don't want to fill out a form at your post office, you can do it all from the U.S. Postal Service website.

Reasons to Stop Mail

If you don’t want mail overflowing your mailbox or packages sitting on your porch while you’re gone, you can temporarily “stop” your mail. If you’re moving, you can stop your mail from coming to that address and have it forwarded to a new address. If you’re leaving the country for good and don’t have someone who will accept your forwarded mail, you can open a large P.O. Box and have your mail forwarded there if you have someone who will check it for you several times per year.

Another option is to give the new resident at your old address a box or large envelope and ask them to save any mail that arrives for you. If someone is deceased, you’ll need to have their estate executor or someone with power of attorney stop their mail.

Be Aware Of the Circumstances

When you change your address, the Postal Service will forward your first-class mail for free for ​one year.​ You’ll need to register online for this. If you want to continue receiving certain types of bulk mail, like an alumni or other nonprofit magazine, contact the organization and give them your new address.

Stopping/Forward Your Mail

Go to www.USPS.com. Click on or hover over the “Receive” button. When you hover over “Receive,” under the “Tools” column you’ll see on the left, your choices will include “Hold Your Mail” and “Change of Address.” In the “Learn About” column on the right, you’ll see choices like “Forwarding Mail” and “Mail for the Deceased.”

If you click on the “Receive” link, scroll down the page for these choices. Choose the options you want to review, then follow the prompts to set up your new delivery, hold or forwarding options.

You’ll be asked for your current address and zip code and the address to which you want your mail forwarded and/or the start and end dates if it’s a temporary hold or forward. Remember, the USPS will only forward your mail for one year. After that, it might be returned to the sender or accidentally (and repeatedly) delivered to the new resident.

Sign Up for Informed Delivery

You can find out what mail you should be getting each day before it arrives and what you should have received earlier in the week by signing up for the USPS free service, Informed Delivery. Go to the website and register and you’ll get a notification each morning, telling you what’s coming. You can also log in to the site to see what should be coming that day. If you don’t receive your mail that day, you’ll be able to click on “Not Delivered” to start an investigation.

Illegal New Resident Behavior

The Postal Service is not perfect and part-time post office workers and mail carriers might mess up and deliver your mail to your old address from time to time. When your first-class mail is delivered to someone else, by law, they are not allowed to open it or throw it away and are required to return it to the box so the mail carrier can get it to you, or contact you.

If you have a suspicion that the person at your old address is tossing your mail, send a first-class letter or card addressed to you at that address and see what happens. If the piece of mail isn’t returned or forwarded to you by the person at the new address, contact the Postal Service and ask for an investigation. This might be necessary if you are worried that important and valuable mail has gone missing and that this might happen again.