Dealing with mail from previous residents can be annoying, and unless you do something about it, the problem will continue. However, don't worry; WikiHow is here to help you! This article will provide you with the best advice for stopping mail from former residents with advice directly obtained through the United States Postal Service.
Method 1 of 3: Use the postal service to stop the mail
Step 1. Write "Return to Sender" on the outside of the envelope
Then, put the mail in an outgoing mailbox. This will notify the post office and the original sender that the recipient no longer lives at that address. Hopefully, the original sender will update the records and you will stop receiving their emails.
- You can also write "No longer at this address" or "Moved" on the outside of the previous resident's mail.
- Email senders and small businesses are more likely to respond. Large companies rely on the National Change of Address Database for address updates.
Step 2. Stick a sticky note in your mailbox
Write "[Name of previous resident] no longer lives at this address" either on the door or on the mailbox itself. This will serve as a constant reminder for the postman to check incoming emails and possibly filter the mail for the previous resident.
- Leave a more precise note if the first one you placed inside the mailbox does not provide effective results.
- You can write "No other person lives here besides [your name]" on a sticky note in the mail or on the door. The postman might see the previous resident's name on the mail and know not to put it in your mailbox. A visual reminder can be very helpful.
Step 3. Cross out the barcode
Sometimes typing "Return to sender" does not provide results due to the postal service's automated system. The United States Postal Service prints a barcode on each mail that corresponds to the address to which it should be sent. USPS uses these barcodes to sort mail. Even if you have a note written on the envelope, the barcode will still allow mail to reach your address. Cross out the barcode on the bottom of the envelope and write "Return to sender."
- Marking the barcode will cause the system to record the mail as "undeliverable".
- Postmen receive many emails for each person's addresses. The previous resident's email could be among the email that is actually for you.
Step 4. Speak directly to the postman
Talk to the mailman at your local post office to discuss the problem and ask that the previous resident's mail stop reaching your mailbox. Give him an email in which you have written "Return to sender". This is more effective than simply writing a note in an envelope.
- Talking to the mailman in person will make him more inclined to take care of the matter and verify if a change of address has occurred.
- When you approach the post office, ask to speak to the manager to discuss the problem.
Method 2 of 3: Respect Laws Regarding Other People's Mail
Step 1. Don't open the email
In the United States, opening and reading someone else's mail is considered a federal crime. If you accidentally open it, paste it back, write "Return to sender" or "Wrong address" and put it in your mailbox. Throwing away the email after opening it will prevent the recipient from receiving their email.
- In some countries, opening someone else's mail is punishable by up to five years in prison or paying a hefty fine.
- Opening someone else's mail is considered theft.
Step 2. Don't throw the mail
Throwing away someone else's mail is a form of mail theft, as you will prevent them from receiving it and ensure that they never receive it. In addition to being a federal crime, it can be counterproductive and will not solve the problem.
- If you always throw away the mail, the sender will never know that the person doesn't live at that address.
- Keep in mind that the person could have submitted an address change with an error, but still wants to receive their emails. Be courteous and help her.
Step 3. Do not submit a change of address
You may be tempted to redirect the previous resident's mail to another address. As much as you know where he lives now, do not file an address change through the postal service. This procedure can be carried out by the previous resident, his executor, guardian, authorized official or agent.
- Completing the form on behalf of the resident is a federal crime, and you could be fined or go to prison.
- If you submit the change of address for someone else, a notification letter will be sent to the customer at the new address. This can bring you a lot of problems.
Method 3 of 3: Stop a Deceased Person's Mail
Step 1. Report spam
Go to the "Deceased No Contact Record" section on the Direct Marketing Association (ie DMAchoice) website. Enter the deceased person's information to stop receiving spam addressed to them. It can take up to three months for the changes to take effect.
- This option will not always stop you from receiving spam addressed to the deceased person entirely, but it should reduce the amount you receive.
- You will have to enter the name of the deceased person, their address, your name, email and relationship with them.
Step 2. Write "Deceased, return to sender" in the mail
Then put the mail in your mailbox. This will notify the post office and the original sender that the person is deceased. In addition, you will inform the postman that the previous resident has passed away.
- In the case of not obtaining the expected results, go to the post office to speak with the manager.
- Take the deceased person's mail to the post office. This way, you can send it to the new address or state of the deceased person.
Step 3. Communicate directly with the companies
If the emails you receive are not junk (such as magazines, charity materials, or service subscriptions), contact the company directly to report that the person is deceased. Although this strategy takes more time, you will be able to complete the process successfully. However, you can write "Deceased, return to sender" in the emails if you do not want to contact the company directly.
- Registering the person through the Direct Marketing Association will not stop magazines and subscription services from being sent out. Only companies that use the mailing and marketing lists will receive the notification.
- Opening and reading the mail of a deceased person is also a crime.
- If the letter or package is being sent by express mail, you can call 1-800-ASK-USPS.
- Please be patient and keep returning the mail at the post office. In most cases, it will take time to stop receiving mail from a former resident.
- The United States Postal Service cannot notify you that a letter that you wanted to return to the sender has been returned.
- You can also use the abbreviation "Rte." for the word "sender" to save space on the envelope.