Privacy policy FAQs

Answers to all questions in the USPS® Policy FAQ’s pertain to the USPS.com web site and associated privacy policies. These FAQ’s are designed to be informative and are not intended to replace the privacy policy as it appears on usps.com.

The USPS privacy policy can be accessed via the Postal Service’s web site, www.usps.com, or directly at https://about.usps.com/who/legal/privacy-policy/welcome.htm.

The USPS commits to provide users with notice on when information is being collected about them, what that information is, and how that information will be used. The USPS also commits to limit collection of information to only what is necessary and to protect what information we do collect.

The USPS only collects personal information if specifically and knowingly provided by you. Personal information may include your name, phone numbers, your e-mail, mailing and/or business address, or other information that identifies you personally. You do not have to register or provide personal information to visit our site.

The Postal Service follows the privacy requirements of the Privacy Act, which protects your personal information that we maintain in what is called a system of records. A system of records is a file, database, or program from which personal information is retrieved by name or other personal identifier.

A complete listing of the Postal Service’s system of records can be found in Handbook AS 353, Guide to Privacy and the Freedom of Information Act.
http://about.usps.com/handbooks/as353/welcome.htm

We do not sell, rent, or otherwise provide your personal information to outside marketers. You will only receive marketing about products and services of the Postal Service or its partners, other than products and services you already receive or are registered for, under the following conditions.

  • If you are a consumer, we use an opt-in standard. If you have provided personal information to register for or purchase a product or service, we will not use that information to contact you in the future about another product or service, unless you have provided express consent.
  • If you are a business, we use an opt-out standard. We assume you are interested in other products and services that could aid you in your business, and so we will provide information to you unless you tell us you do not want to receive it.

Consumers may opt-in, and businesses may opt-out, when they register on usps.com and create a customer profile. These preferences in the profile can be changed at any time.

As required by the Privacy Act of 1974, the USPS must disclose the circumstances in which information collected from you may be released to outside entities. Under no other circumstances does the Postal Service provide your personal information to outside parties. We do not market other products or services to you without your consent. We require that our service providers adhere to our privacy requirements. We do not require you to register or provide personal information in order to visit our website.

You have the ability to view and correct the personal information that is kept in your registration profile on usps.com. You can access and correct the information right from the registration sign on page on usps.com.

To protect your information once we receive it, we have implemented industry-standard data security measures and software programs to monitor network traffic that identifies and prevents unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage.

The USPS protects your information by using industry standard encryption software, Secured Socket Layer (SSL). The URL in your browser will change to “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP” when this security feature is invoked. Your browser also may display a lock symbol on its bottom task bar line to indicate invoked secure transmission.

The Postal Service secures your information in transit to us and upon receipt by using the industry standard encryption software, Secured Socket Layer (SSL). The URL in your browser will change to “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP” when this security feature is invoked. Your browser may also display a lock symbol on its bottom task bar line to indicate this secure transmission is in place.

Cookies may be categorized as session or persistent, which describes the length of time that they stay on your system. Both session and persistent cookies are used on the USPS site. The following are detailed descriptions of how we use these cookies.

Session Cookie - A session cookie is a small piece of textual information that a server places temporarily on your browser during the time your browser is open. The cookies are erased once you close all browsers. We use session cookies in the following manner:

Log-on and log-off administration — Log-on and registration are not required to browse our site. If you decide to register with our site, so as, for example, to use one of our online services, session cookies help with the log-on and log-off process. The cookies enable us to recognize your log-on ID when you log on so that we do not establish a duplicate registration record for you.

Transactions and site usability — We use session cookies to improve how you navigate through usps.com and conduct transactions. As examples, session cookies are used to maintain your online session as you browse over several pages; to store and prepopulate information so that you do not have to reenter the same information twice; and to retain your shopping cart information. Session cookies may also be used to collect referral statistics when you click on a link or ad banner to or from usps.com.

Persistent Cookie - A persistent cookie is a small piece of text stored on your computer’s hard drive for a defined period of time, after which the cookie is erased. We do not collect or link to personal information through persistent cookies without your express consent.

Ad Banner Cookie - On behalf of the USPS, persistent cookies and beacons may be set and managed by third party advertising suppliers to support ad banners. Ad banner cookies are set when you view or click on an ad banner on usps.com, or an ad banner on another site for a USPS product, and persist for no more than five years.

Yes, you can reject or opt-out of ad banner cookies. If you choose to do so we will no longer track any information from ad banners related to your visit.

Learn how to reject/opt-out of ad banner cookies.

Yes, you may opt-out of the use of all cookies. You will still be able to access most features of usps.com. However, certain features such as the shopping cart and personalization options will not work as well.

Learn how to reject/opt-out of all cookies.

A cookie is a tiny text file stored on your computer when you visit a web site. Cookies contain information such as your login or registration information, online “shopping cart” information, user preferences, and the last site you visited.

Cookies allow web sites to maintain information on a particular user as they move from one web page to another. This enables Web sites to recognize visitors and serve them based on their predetermined user preferences. See USPS Privacy Policy for more information on cookies.

A Web Beacon, also referred to as a clear gif or page tag, consists of code on the USPS site that delivers a small graphic image from another web site or third party server. They may not be visible as the beacon is generally a 1x1 pixel that is often designed to blend into the background of a Web page.

We use beacons, often in conjunction with cookies, to monitor the effectiveness of ad banners. We do not use beacons to store or link to personal information. We thus use beacons to understand certain actions that you took (such as a purchase), but not to know who you are.

Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits beyond those uses identified in our privacy policy.

Yes. The Postal Service believes in permission-based marketing. We do not sell, rent, or otherwise provide your personal information to outside marketers. You will only receive marketing about products and services of the Postal Service or its partners, other than products and services you already receive or are registered for.

Consumers may opt-in, and businesses may opt-out, when they register on usps.com and create a customer profile. You can change your preferences in your profile any time.

If you wish to contact us, please send an email to privacy@usps.com or write to:

PRIVACY OFFICE
US POSTAL SERVICE
475 L’ENFANT PLZ SW RM 9431
WASHINGTON DC 20260-1101

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), passed by Congress in October 1998, places restrictions on how web sites collect information from children under the age of 13.

The Act and associated rules apply to:
- Operators of commercial web sites or online services directed to children under 13 that collect personal information from children;
- Operators of general audience sites that knowingly collect personal information from children under 13; and
- Operators of general audience sites that have a separate children's area and that collect personal information from children.

For more information, visit the FTC’s COPPA site.

Information from Children
From time to time as part of a special Postal Service promotion, such as stamp collecting, we may request information from children under 13 years of age. We will do so only with parental notice and consent. We will take all necessary steps to protect the privacy and safety of any child participating, in accordance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Online privacy policies provide users with information about how a web site will use their personal information. These practices can influence the types of information that users are willing to provide to a site, or if they use the web site at all. Creating a privacy policy that is acceptable to your customers can influence the number of people that are willing to provide information and conduct transactions on your site.

Several interactive, web-based tools have been developed to help organizations create a privacy policy step-by-step.

Visit our Privacy Office – Business Resource page for more information.

The Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P) technology provides an automated way for users to gain more control over the use of personal information on web sites they visit. It is a Web-based language for describing the privacy policy of a web site in XML. Using this language, P3P enables users to compare a site's privacy policy with the user's privacy preferences before deciding to share personal information with the site.

Visit our Privacy Office – Business Resource page for more information about P3P.

The Federal Trade Commission’s Privacy Site contains valuable information about privacy laws and regulations.

The Postal Service™ does not maintain address lists of individuals and/or organizations. The only address information we maintain are customer change of addresses. This information is retained for only 18 months.

MAIL PREFERENCE SERVICE
DIRECT MARKETING ASSOCIATION
1615 L ST
WASHINGTON DC 20036
EQUIFAX INC
NAME REMOVAL DEPARTMENT
POST OFFICE BOX 740241
ATLANTA GA 30374-0241
TRANS UNION LLC
NAME REMOVAL OPTION
POST OFFICE BOX 97328
JACKSON MS 39288-7328
Ad Banner

An advertisement that is placed on a Web page (usually provided by a third party) to promote a good or service to site visitors. Clicking on an ad banner takes users to another site with information about the product or service.

Browser

A software application that is used to navigate the Internet and view web sites.

Consent

When a user provides explicit permission for a web site to manage personal information for secondary purposes.

Cookie

A tiny text file that may be installed on your computer’s hard drive when you visit a web site. Cookies contain information such as your login or registration information, online “shopping cart” information, user preferences, or what site you came from last, for example. See USPS Privacy Policy section for more information on Cookies.

COPPA

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), 15 U.S.C. 6501- 6505, is intended to protect children’s privacy on the Internet. COPPA applies to operators of commercial web sites who direct the web site to, or knowingly collect information from, children under the age of 13. COPPA requires such operators to provide notice of data practices, and to obtain parental consent before collecting children’s personal information, unless certain exceptions apply. The Postal Service has adopted policies to comply voluntarily with COPPA in its web site operations.
USPS online protections for children

Encryption

A mathematical process for scrambling data so that it cannot be read by anyone except the intended receiver. Often used for transmission of credit card numbers for online shopping.

“Fair Information Practices”

Developed by the Federal Trade Commission to guide businesses in privacy, these practices represent five key privacy principles, (1) Notice, (2) Choice, (3) Access, (4) Security and (5) Redress, which are commonly recognized as the core elements needed to protect consumers’ privacy.

Notice

Notice refers to data collectors’ disclosure of their information practices prior to collecting personal information from consumers.

Choice

The ability for users to express their choice about how personal information collected from them may be used.

Access

The ability for users to review information collected about them and challenge the accuracy of it.

Security

Measures used to protect against loss and the unauthorized access or disclosure of information.

Redress

A process in which customer questions and complaints can be received and processed.

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB) –The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB), Title V, 15 U.S.C. 6801-6827, governs the treatment of personal information when certain financial services are provided in the private sector. The GLB requires that customers be given notice about data practices, and choices as to whether data can be shared with unaffiliated parties. Examples of financial services include banking activities or functions; wire or monetary transfers; printing, selling, or cashing checks; or providing credit services. Financial services do not include accepting payment by check or credit card issued by another entity. The Postal Service has adopted policies to comply voluntarily with GLB for its products and services that would be considered financial services if offered by a private sector company.

Identity Theft

When someone uses your name or other identifying information for their personal gain.

IP Address

An IP address is a number that uniquely identifies a computer or other hardware device on the Internet. IP, or Internet Protocol, is a language that allows computers to interact with each other via the Internet.

“Opt-In/Opt-Out”

These terms refer to the two standard approaches for permission based marketing.

“Opt-in” if you are a consumer, we use an opt-in standard. If you have provided personal information to register for or purchase a product or service, we will not use that information to contact you in the future about another product or service unless you have produced express consent.

“Opt-out” if you are a business, we use an opt-out standard. We assume you are interested in other products and services that could aid you in your business, and so we will provide information to you unless you tell us you do not want to receive it.

P3P

A Web-based language for describing the online privacy policy of a web site in XML. Using this language, P3P enables users to compare a site’s online privacy policy with the user’s privacy preferences before deciding to share personal information with the site.

Persistent Cookies

A persistent cookie is a small piece of text stored on your computer’s hard drive for a defined period of time, after which the cookie is erased. See USPS privacy policy for more information on persistent cookies.

Personal Information

Personal information includes anything that can be used to uniquely identify or describe an individual such as name, address, phone number, e-mail address and credit card information.

Privacy Act

The Privacy Act of 1974 protects certain federal government records containing an individual’s personal information. It also gives individuals the right to review records about themselves, to find out if these records have been disclosed, and to request corrections or amendments of these records.

Secured Socket Layer (SSL)

Secured Socket Layer (SSL) is industry standard encryption software designed to safeguard information in transit.

Session Cookies

A session cookie is a small piece of textual information that a server places temporarily on your browser during the time your browser is open. The cookies are erased from your computer when you end your “session” by shutting down your browser. See USPS privacy policy for more information on Cookies.

Shopping Cart

An electronic storage space used by Internet retailers that allow shoppers to save items collected during online shopping sessions.

Spam

Unsolicited e-mail also known as “junk” e-mail sent to large numbers of people to promote products or services.

Tracking Device

Any device that is used to track a web user’s movements on the web. Some can collect personal information. Tracking devices include cookies and web beacons, as well as web analysis tools.

Web Beacons

A Web Beacon, also referred to as a clear gif or pixel tag, consists of a line of code on a web site that delivers a small graphic image from another web site or third party ad server. They may not be visible, as the beacon is generally a 1x1 pixel that is often designed to blend into the background of a Web page. See USPS Privacy Policy for more information on Web Beacons.