Does the USPS sell you out to junk mailers when you have your mail forwarded?

I getting a bunch of junk mail at a temporary residence with my name on it. This is odd, because I’m not here in any official capacity (no formal lease, no utilities in my name) and most of my important mail goes to a PO Box.

I’ve tracked the address seller; an outfit called ‘Welcome Wagon’. I have yet to find out who gave my address to these jerks in the first place. The only people that would have a name associated with this address are:

  1. The postal service, via the change of address form
  2. Comcast, this wouldn’t surprise me
  3. The city library, not very likely
    If it’s the post office, I won’t be forwarding any mail when I move again, which will be soon. If it’s Comcast, well, you can’t fight city hall while watching 200 channels.

Yes. The main effect of the official USPS change-of-address cards is to give your new address to direct mailers.


No, the USPS did not sell you out to the junk mailers.

Did you move into a completely new residence, rather than with your parents or a friend? Guess what? Your mortgage lender and landlord gave your name to mailing lists, ESPECIALLY WELCOME WAGON! In fact, the chief supplier of names to Welcome Wagon is :::: Drumroll please::: MORTGAGE COMPANIES! I’ve bought and sold four houses. Every time I get a new one, I get the Welcome Wagon.

We also get tons of mail for veterans, and you know it’s not VA who gave out the info, because it’s all addressed to my husband, when I AM THE VETERAN. Now who would know we have a VA loan but not have any indication of who is the Veteran?

That’s right. My MORTGAGE COMPANY!

Did you get utilities? Guess what? They sell you out to mailing lists! Especially if they’re privately owned.

Did you notify your credit cards yourself about your change of address? They sell you out to mailing lists!

The USPS does NOT sell names and addresses to mailing lists. It is against their rules to do so.

This has only been debunked a thousand times and idiots keep blaming an organization that has nothing to do with it.

No, the USPS gives your address away for free – as noted by commasense above, to anyone who has your old address, they will freely give your new address.

I don’t dispute for a moment that every other source you mentioned will happily sell your address. Except possibly some financial companies, if they have promised not to, assuming they are honest enough to keep that promise. (I know. BIG assumption there.)

My banks have all promised they will not sell my address. And I’m not getting lots of junk mail, other than the regular local supermarket, pizza parlor, etc., stack of flyers that they stuff in everybody’s box all the time. And I haven’t asked the DMA people or anybody else to NOT send me junk mail. I just keep a low profile.

That said. . . I don’t give the Post Office my new address any more anyway. They’ve fucked it up in other ways about three times too many. I just notify all my correspondents myself promptly, thank you. In fact, I first started paying bills on-line several years ago (after resisting for a long time) because I got tired of Post Office fuck-up and bad service.

Yup. They don’t do it. They just contract out someone else to do it.

Looks like the debunking needs some work.

Quite a bit of misinformation in this post.

First, as others have said, it is the USPS. I used to work in Direct Mail. We would get change of address information from the USPS. The post office works very closely with direct mailers, and offers them many services, since that is where so much of their revenue comes from.

Second, about companies selling your information. Many of them are all too happy to do so, especially magazines and the like, who sometimes seem to exist for the sole purpose of developing segmented marketing lists.

Financial institutions, on the other hand, are much less likely to sell names and addresses. One reason is that there are many regulations that banks need to follow; privacy of customer information is much more protected in financial institutions than in other businesses. Also, banks are more paranoid about supplying prospect lists to their competition. Time Warner is happy to sell lists of Sports Illustrated subscribers, since most of the solicitations will be for non-competitive products like golf clubs, sports vacations, etc. A list of Citibank credit card customers, on the other hand, isn’t much use for targeted leads, unless you are Capital One, and Citibank isn’t very interested in supplying their competition with leads.

One way that financial institution information could get disseminated is through the credit bureaus. All major institutions report to them (Experian, Equifax, Trans Union), and this information can be used in **pre-approved **offers (though not in a targeted sense, Capital One can’t go to Equifax and say “I want to mail a pre-approved offer to Citibank’s cardholders”). This information would not be used for non-pre-approved offers, such as Welcome Wagon.