If you have ordered any number of items online, you may have noticed that each service, like the United States Postal Service or FedEx, has its own unique numbering system.
For the USPS, as for the others, the quantity of numbers and the numbers in the series has special meaning. So how many numbers are in USPS Tracking? I have answers to the questions on your mind!
How Many Numbers USPS Tracking In 2023?
The United States Postal Service’s Tracking numbers have 22 individual numbers that make up the whole, with a variety of different four-digit prefixes that indicate the shipping class as of 2023. These numbers appear under the barcode on the label on the package, grouped in five sets of four, then the two last digits.
To learn more about the different prefixes for USPS Tracking numbers, what the numbers and labels look like in real life, if there are fake tracking numbers, and much more, keep reading!
What Do USPS Tracking Numbers Usually Start With?
There are quite a few different prefixes when it comes to the United States Postal Service’s Tracking number system. For example, some of the most common are:
That said, each one indicates a particular shipping class (see below).
Also, you might see a tracking number that starts with “EC” or “CP,” which means the package is coming from abroad.
Further, you will likely see the numbers arranged in five groups of four, followed by the two ending digits (the stragglers, if you will).
What Does USPS Tracking Look Like?
USPS Tracking numbers start with a four-digit prefix that indicates the shipping class, followed by four more sets of four digits, then a set of two digits, for a total of 22 numbers.
Also, you can find that number series on the label that gets printed, whether at home or the Post Office, and affixed to parcels shipped via a class that is eligible for tracking.
Moreover, it’s located just under the all-important barcode, which is intrinsically linked to the tracking number.
Then, every time the barcode gets scanned, whether it’s arriving or departing, that linked information is updated on USPS Tracking.
Obviously, if you have sent the parcel out, you can no longer access the tracking number.
But, if you are the customer/shipper, you can find a copy of the tracking number on your receipt if you went to the Post Office to ship.
Or, you can find a copy of it on the confirmation email you received after purchasing the postage online.
The recipient, however, cannot access the tracking information unless someone provides them with the number.
What Do The First Four Numbers Stand For USPS?
As you learned above, the numbers indicate which shipping class was used to send the parcel.
For example, here are some of the most common prefixes and what shipping class they indicate:
- 9205: Priority Mail
- 9270: Priority Mail Express
- 9208: Registered Mail
- 9202: Signature Confirmation
- 9407: Certified Mail
- 9374: Parcel Select
- CP 000: Priority Mail International
- EC OOO: Priority Mail Express International
Are There Fake USPS Tracking Numbers?
If they show a legitimate tracking process, USPS Tracking numbers themselves are not fake; but people can use them in fraudulent ways.
For example, this report from 2018 describes how some scammers used tracking numbers as part of their nefarious swindling schemes.
Further, they’ll set up sites that show in-demand products for a fraction of the cost; nothing seems amiss, not even during checkout.
In fact, nothing seems terribly strange when they notify you that your package has been shipped.
At this point, some have given you a real tracking number, but it does not correspond to your package.
Does USPS Tracking Start With 1Z?
Tracking numbers that begin with 1Z are actually being shipped via UPS.
According to AndrewKurochkin.com, most UPS tracking numbers consist of 18 digits and begin with “1Z.”
Alternatively, USPS Tracking numbers will never start with 1Z; USPS’ have long been established as starting with nines in most cases, and 22 digits total.
How Long Is A USPS Tracking Number Good For?
The longevity of a USPS Tracking number depends, particularly on the volume of parcels the Postal Service sees.
That said, USPS can reuse numbers, sometimes in as little as a few months.
However, if you know you will need your tracking number to stay associated with your delivery for some time to come, you can see if it’s eligible for USPS Tracking Plus.
For a very affordable fee, you can extend your tracking number’s affiliation with your delivery for anything from six months to ten years.
USPS Tracking numbers are easily identifiable because they tend to start with the number nine (unless they’re international), with 22 digits total.
Also, you can find the tracking number on parcels right underneath the all-important barcode, and the first four digits indicate by which shipping class the package has been sent.