In an era of rampant identify theft and stolen mail, many homeowners remain unaware that there’s a free, readily available service to help monitor their incoming postal mail –  Informed Delivery from the United States Postal Service (USPS).

In our case, we learned of this invaluable service over a year ago when randomly reading a thread on NextDoor about a neighbor who had just experienced mail theft.

The USPS rolled out Informed Delivery in a soft launch in 2014. An expansion of the program followed in 2017 and then again in 2019 to reach over 15 million users. Postal customers who sign up for Informed Delivery have the ability to preview a digital image of the mail they will receive, usually the next day, at least ten hours before it is actually delivered.

In other words, you can check your Informed Delivery at 7PM on Monday night to see what will be in your mailbox on Tuesday afternoon. The program is helpful in combatting postal theft, as customers can be made aware of an item that appears in the digital preview but has failed to be delivered in their mailbox.

Here are all the crucial details you should know about this vital mail service.

Table of Contents

Also see:


 

What is Informed Delivery?

Informed Delivery is a free, optional notification feature offered by the USPS that allows postal customers to preview their letter-sized mail and manage package delivery online.

Digital images for mail scheduled for delivery that day are available for preview as early as 7PM the previous night. The service is available on a computer, tablet or mobile device and allows customers to view their mail contents when traveling or as an alternative to walking to their mailbox in inclement weather or driving to a PO Box to check if mail has arrived.


 

The Benefits of Informed Delivery

The overriding benefit of Informed Delivery is peace of mind, as you can keep close track of important pieces of mail. As a rule, we never let critical mail items sit in our mailbox for long periods of time. Conversely, it is liberating to know when only junk mail is coming to your mailbox. In that situation, you do not have to worry about unnecessarily trekking to your mailbox late at night or through inclement weather.


 

How Does Informed Delivery Work?

The United States Postal Service digitally images the front exterior of letter-sized mail that runs through its automated mail sorting equipment, as part of the mail handling and sorting process.

These same digital images are now being directed to residents, who have signed up and have been verified for Informed Delivery, as a “push notification” email with the digital images attached. This service is also offered to PO Box holders in eligible zip code locations.

You can sign-up for Informed Delivery through this link to the USPS website.


 

What is in the Informed Delivery Email Notification?

Customers of Informed Delivery receive an email, usually by 9AM each morning, sent to their personal email accounts from USPS Informed Delivery. If there is no mail for a particular customer on a regular mail day, no email is sent. Informed Delivery is not available on non-mail delivery days, namely Sundays and Federal Holidays.

The email subject header is formatted as:

Your Daily Digest for <Day-of-Week>, <Month>, <Day>

USPS Informed Delivery Example Email

USPS Informed Delivery Example Email

The email contains grayscale images of the front exterior of up to 10 items of mail scheduled for delivery, usually that day, or arriving soon. Information on mail items scheduled for potential delivery can also be found by accessing the USPS Dashboard directly and entering your user name and password to view digital images for mail, as early as 7PM the previous night.

Incidentally, the dashboard has all of the images of letter sized mail to be delivered, whereas the email sent to customers limits the item count to 10.

USPS Informed Delivery Online Dashboard Example

USPS Informed Delivery Online Dashboard

 


 

What If I Do Not Receive an Item Listed in Informed Delivery?

If an item for which you receive a digital image for that day fails to show up in your mailbox, simply logon to the Informed Delivery dashboard and notify USPS. Next to each item’s digital image is a clickable box I Didn’t Receive This Mailpiece

Clicking on the box for items that did not arrive in your mailbox informs USPS that the physical mailpiece was not delivered. This information is routed to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and/or the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for investigative purposes. No additional action is taken; these submissions do not result in any search activity or customer response. The USPS does however suggests allowing several days for the missing mail item to appear in your mailbox, as an errant delivery may have occurred or the postal carrier may not have received that item in his daily batch that day.

The USPS does recommend that customers contact the sender of the missing mailpiece, especially if the item contains a check, which can result in check washing fraud. Persistent delivery issues should be reported to your local Post Office.


 

How is Certified Mail Handled through Informed Delivery?

Any additional items with USPS Tracking, such as Registered or Certified mail are also viewable with Informed Delivery. Status of the mailpiece is noted and users can provide instruction to USPS to re-direct, return or re-schedule any of these trackable items. Separate tracking updates can also be received for USPS Tracking items as separate emails or text notifications.


 

Where is Informed Delivery Offered?

Informed Delivery is now available to eligible residential and eligible PO Box consumers in the majority of ZIP Code locations across the country. Visit the USPS Informed Delivery website to sign up and check if your address is eligible for the feature.


 

Who is Eligble to Receive Informed Delivery?

Informed Delivery is available to residential consumers and eligible personal PO Box addresses. However, it is not currently available to business customers.

You must live in an eligible ZIP Code location and be able to verify your identity in order to sign up for Informed Delivery. You also need a mailbox address that is uniquely coded to work with Informed Delivery. In rare instances, a person may live in an eligible ZIP Code, but be prohibited from signing up due to not having a uniquely coded mailbox.

The unique coding is required so that the service can accurately send notifications to the intended address only. Mailboxes in high density residential areas (e.g. apartment buildings and condos) are more susceptible to not having unique coding.

If your address is currently not uniquely coded, the USPS recommends checking back at a later date, as they are continually attempting to increase the number of addresses that will work with Informed Delivery.

The USPS has also stated that they hope to offer Informed Delivery to small business customers in the future.


 

Limitations of Informed Delivery

Informed Delivery, although an excellent and innovative use of digital technology, is not flawless.

There have been a number of times that a digital image for an item appeared in the morning email only to not appear physically in our mailbox. Following the instructions, we clicked on the email stating that the email was not received, but nothing happened. The fact that this feature exists is superfluous and ridiculous. Why bother to notify the USPS that an item is missing if they have no process for tracking the item and working with customers to rresolve missing mail issues?

Only mail processed on USPS automated sorting equipment is included in the Informed Delivery notification. Larger items of mail such as catalogues, magazines and items larger than a mail-sized envelope are not included in the digital scan. Instead customers receive a notification stating:

A mailpiece for which we do not currently have an image is included in today’s mail.”

Recently, Informed Delivery customers have been hit with SPAM from fraudsters attempting to gain personal information, such as user names and passwords. Emails with headers ” Your Package Received Today will be Returned” are merely attempt at phishing or social engineering attempts to steal user data including login credentials and credit card information.

In Summer 2021, the USPS discontinued the Informed Delivery app for download. Users who have not previously downloaded the app must perform all digital item viewing by logging onto the USPS website or through emails sent via daily notifications.

Delivery instructions are overruled if a package fits into a mailbox. This defeats the purpose of combatting postal theft if a customer instructs USPS to deliver the package elsewhere or to place it in an alternative or concealed spot to thwart thieves.

Delivery instructions for packages are not available for all items. A list of those items for which this service is unavailable is on the USPS website.


 

USPS Informed Delivery Resources

 

Recommended Home Services Articles

 

Purgula is reader-supported. When you click on links to other sites from our website, we may earn affiliate commissions, at no cost to you. If you find our content to be helpful, this is an easy way for you to support our mission. Thanks! Learn more.