Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

For Personal Privacy, Use a Virtual Mailbox Address

Perhaps you don’t want your street address visible to everyone. Mail forwarding services typically provide a new street address for your postal mail and then will forward the received envelopes and packages to any address the customer specifies.

Mail forwarding services have been available for years but now such services have moved into the digital age. You can have your physical mail sent to such a service and then have it scanned and delivered electronically to you wherever you are.

Scanning of the contents is not mandatory. Instead, you can have the received envelopes and packages forwarded to you (without being opened) in the same manner as old-fashioned mail forwarding services. You can choose the delivery option on a case-by-case (or envelope-by-envelope) basis.

With most mail forwarding services that use digital deliveries, the outside of all mail is first scanned and the newly-scanned images are then sent to you via email, text messaging, or via an app on your cell phone. You decide what to do with each piece of physical mail: forward it to you by regular mail, shred it, or open the envelope and scan the contents to be sent to you. The mail forwarding service takes no action until you specify how you want the service to handle each individual piece of mail.

Some services also will also receive and forward packages for you.

A few mail forwarding services also offer dedicated telephone numbers, FAX numbers, and more.

You might consider using a virtual address for either personal or for business use or for both.

Customers of mail forwarding services often include:

  • Solo professionals, entrepreneurs, and the self-employed
  • Expats or students living abroad
  • Military personnel, especially those serving overseas or on board a ship
  • Small and medium-sized businesses
  • RVers, boaters, or heavy travelers
  • Wives or ex-wives who need to keep their location secret from abusive or threatening (ex-)husbands
  • “Snowbirds” and others who have seasonal homes
  • Companies needing a presence in other cities
  • Those managing mail for elderly parents

Details will vary amongst the different available mail forwarding services but most services offering digital scanning of incoming mail are used to:

  1. Change your normal mailing address to a new address, possibly in a different city or state.

2. Use that mail address for some or all of your bills, tax correspondence, shopping, and other physical mail sent to an address of your choosing.

Prices typically run from $8 to $10 (US) per month for basic receiving and handling of letters, advertising (“junk mail”), and similar services. Forwarding packages, adding phone numbers or FAX numbers, and other extra services obviously cost a bit more.

Most mail forwarding services will discount the price somewhat if you pay for one year’s service in advance.

You can find many mail forwarding services by searching online. A few of the better known digitized mail forwarding services include:

PostScanMail at (a base price of $9.95/month) at (a base price of $9.99/month) at (a base price of $7.98/month with numerous additional services available)

If you would like to obtain an address in Canada, look at

Categories: Offline Privacy & Security, Postal Privacy

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