US Postal Service: Address Change Info

February 20, 2009 at 10:28 pm 5 comments

Your question:  How can i obtain the forwarding address that a person provides the United States Postal Service when they move? I am quite certain this is avaiable, because I see companys track me to new addresses, despite having not offered the new address directly, only told the Post office to forward mail to a new address. In addition to marketers, it seems creditors can find you when you move also.  I am the later, with a judgement against a dead beat tenant. I tried going to the local post office and asking for their forwarding address, but the ditz behind the counter thought it was “private”. Thank you for your reply!!!

Our Answer: You’re absolutely correct in thinking that the United States Postal Service (USPS) does make address change information available to marketers and other companies (including creditors) for list updating purposes. 

The service is called National Change of Address (NCOA). Essentially, a handful (about 20) of large data processing firms have been licensed to process consumer and business lists against the USPS file of address changes, to identify if any of their customers or prospects have filed a change of address.

Essentially, rather than having the USPS forward mail, the data processors identify consumers and businesses who have moved, allowing direct mailers to update their records and send the direct mail to the new address.

This all comes at a fee, of course, and the USPS receives revenue from the licensed service bureaus.  Likewise, the service bureaus charge the mailers for the updated addresses.  The USPS also realizes cost savings because it’s quite costly to manually forward mail.

The process is also highly regulated.  For example, mailers are prohibited against building ‘new mover’ type lists using USPS data.  And, most important to you, perhaps, the NCOA service is only offered for mass mailers–companies that are trying to update a large list of customers or prospects.

You cannot go directly to the USPS and, as an individual, request and receive someone’s new address. Sadly, the ‘ditz’ at the USPS was correct–mover data is not something that the USPS makes available to regular people…

Sorry for the bad news–good luck collecting your debt. And, if anyone out there has any other ideas, please comment.


Entry filed under: Address Hygiene.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. gene  |  February 21, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    The PO can’t “give out” the forward address, but you might try “Delivery Confirmation”

  • 2. Kenneth R. Lane  |  June 9, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    As a fraud investigator for a local Department of Social Services I was surprised to find that a release of information signed and dated by a Dss client was not acceptable for the release of a forwarding address needed for the investigation I was conducting. I was further amazed that the Post Master stated a subpoena from a Circuit Court Judge would not be sufficient to obtain the information and would not be honored. What is the acceptable release form and where can it be obtained by an agency such as Social Services.

  • 3. Debbie Good  |  September 12, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    You need to file a FOIA Freedom of information Act.

  • 4. decoder Ranger 9000 Platinum  |  June 10, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    I think the admin of this website is in fact working hard
    for his website, because here every information is quality based

  • 5. Philippines - CFT2200 Model Addressable box  |  August 19, 2015 at 1:06 am

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    US Postal Service: Address Change Info | Ask Direct Marketers


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