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Thread: Different Name on Mail in the Mailbox

  1. #1
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    Different Name on Mail in the Mailbox

    Just recently we started to receive mail for a name not known to us. We have been living here for eleven years and have received mail for the previous owners times 2. That has pretty much stopped.

    My question is if it is okay to just toss it in recycling or should it be left in the box with a note to the mail carrier that this person does not live here?

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Just recently we started to receive mail for a name not known to us. We have been living here for eleven years and have received mail for the previous owners times 2. That has pretty much stopped.

    My question is if it is okay to just toss it in recycling or should it be left in the box with a note to the mail carrier that this person does not live here?

    jtk
    I write "Not at this address" on the envelope and the carrier picks it up the next day. What they do with it I have no idea.

    JKJ

  3. #3
    Just put it back in the mail box and put the flag up. We sometimes get mail that isn't ours and that is what we do. We don't write anything on it.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Schierer View Post
    Just put it back in the mail box and put the flag up. We sometimes get mail that isn't ours and that is what we do. We don't write anything on it.
    I do that if the mail is obviously delivered in error, i.e., has a different address than mine. (Or just take it down the road to the neighbor.)

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the answers. This has my address, just the name is off.

    One thought is it could be someone recently moved into the neighborhood. Not that this is reall such. The USGS has the population density of this area pegged at ~50 per square mile. The lots tend to be 5 or more acres.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #6
    Some possibilities: (1) some digits transposed in the street address (e.g. 54 instead of 45) -- could the addressee be one of your neighbors? (2) similar sounding or similarly spelled street name (e.g. Woodbury vs. Woodburn) -- are there other streets in your municipality that could be mistaken for yours? Perhaps the addressee lives there?

    What to do with the mail: Is this first class mail? (a) try to track the person down as above, or (b) write "return to sender, addressee unknown" and give it back to the post office.... Junk mail? just recycle it... unless you start getting a lot of it and would rather it not come....

  7. #7
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    We get quite a lot-- someone who lived at this address apparently stiffed quite a few people and the collection agencies haven't given up. First class mail I write "not at this address" and put back in the mailbox, anything else goes to the recycle bin-- along with anything addressed to me that doesn't have a first class stamp or is otherwise obviously desirable like magazines and woodworking catalogs.

  8. #8
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    Sterling, Virginia
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    At my workplace we still get mail for the previous tenants and we have been there 16 years.

  9. #9
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    Dec 2008
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    Cary, NC
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    I retired from the USPS as a mail carrier. All of your mis-directed mail can be blamed on the mail carrier. Mail carriers now, seem to take no pride in their work. Carriers have to sort the mail and get on the street as quickly as possible. I would call your postmaster this and register a complaint. Also, call 1-800-askusps. That usually gets results.
    Joe

  10. #10
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    Yorktown, VA
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    What kind of mail?? I would be concerned that someone had used my address and maybe my identity to opened charge accounts/credit cards etc.???

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Virginia
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    I have written a note on the envelope and put it back in the box in that circumstance. About half the time the mail (with the note) is back in my box in a day or two. All you can do is try I guess.

  12. #12
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    Mail carrier doesn't know if the person's name on the envelope is a new renter or guest who wants mail delivered to your address so just do as some have suggested. If the name is not a neighbor then write "person not at this address" or something similar. That way if it gets returned to sender the sender will know they have screwed up the address. If your note just says "return to sender" then the sender might think you did not want to receive their letter which reminds me of an Elvis song.

  13. #13
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    Heh. I get mail all the time addressed to my ex-wife's second husband. Apparently one or more of the mass-mailer databases has an entry for her and me sharing this address, and an entry for her and him sharing an address elsewhere, and some idiot programmed an algorithm that connects the dots and concludes that he must live here too. Hey, she only moved out in 1986, so who knows?

    Sometimes in the fall I'll get three copies of the same Medicare spam the same day: his, hers, and mine. If she ever moves on to #3, maybe I'll start getting four copies.

    Have to wonder how they make any money mailing stuff to addresses that are 30+ years out of date.
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  14. #14
    If the mail is addressed to someone strange - but at your address - I'd be concerned about identity theft. Could be just a mistake but it would put me on notice.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  15. #15
    At my old house I routinely received a New England Journal of Medicine for an address with the same house number but one street away. It never happened with other mail. There must have been something odd in how that particular piece was sorted all the time.

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