When a package arrives unexpectedly, it can be cause for joy. As long as the sender is clearly marked on the shipping label, you can get excited about the contents.
But what happens if you receive a package and there is no name, or no name and no address on it? Is there a way to find out where it came from? Who sent you a package USPS and how cautious should you be about opening it? Here is what you need to know!
Who Sent You a Package With USPS In 2024?
If you have received a package that was sent anonymously via USPS, you may at least have a return address you can use to search for the recipient in 2024. However, a return address is not mandatory for sending packages; if there is none, unfortunately, the recipient may never find out who sent the package.
To learn more about how people can ship packages anonymously, how you can at least know if someone has sent you a package (with a clue as to where it has originated), and even if you can get a PO Box with a fake name, keep reading!
Can You Ship a Package Anonymously with USPS?
You absolutely can ship a package anonymously using the United States Postal Service.
While USPS would prefer that you include a name and return address, it is not mandatory.
The return address is there so that if something happens where the package cannot be delivered, then the package has somewhere to be returned to.
However, without a return address, an undeliverable package will instead head to the Postal Service’s “lost and found,” or Mail Recovery Center (MRC).
Another note on sending something without a return label: You are leaving your box open to considerable scrutiny.
The Postal Service employees are trained to look for specific red flags, aka boxes that might appear to contain illegal or nonmailable items.
Therefore, a package without a return address is likely to raise questions, particularly if it’s also excessively taped all over or feels heavier than it looks.
Bear in mind that any mail class other than First-Class Letter and Package can be opened without a warrant.
So, if your package looks sneaking or suspicious and it’s been sent Priority Mail or Retail Ground, Postal employees can very well open it and take a look inside.
How Do You Know If Someone Sent You a Package?
If someone has sent you a package anonymously (or otherwise) as a surprise, you can know ahead of it arriving.
To learn this, you must be signed up for Informed Delivery.
Informed Delivery is how USPS lets you know ahead of time what you can expect in the mail within the next few days.
As well, it’s totally free to sign up for; you’ll get daily emails showing what’s coming in the mail, and you can see an expanded view under your account at USPS.com.
Your Informed Delivery emails and dashboard also show you what packages are heading to your address.
You can click on the tracking number and it will take you to USPS Tracking.
From there, you can see what city and zip the package was sent from. That, in turn, can be used to help identify the sender.
Can You Send Something Anonymously Through USPS?
You can send something anonymously through USPS, though the Postal Service would always prefer to have somewhere to send the package or letter if it cannot be delivered.
Still, if you’re deadset on shipping something anonymously, you can go through the normal steps of readying a parcel.
Make sure you’re not sending anything illegal and ensure the item’s stability and security inside the box.
To be thorough, Close it up with packing tape, write the recipient’s name and address, and take it to your local Post Office.
At the counter, ask for the postage needed to ship it. Whatever mail class you choose, when asked for a return address, you can simply say none.
When sending a letter, it’s even easier – you don’t even need to visit the Post Office if you have the stamps on hand.
Rather, you can simply put the letter in the envelope, affix the stamp (one Forever stamp is good for up to one ounce), write the recipient’s name and address, and leave it in your mailbox.
The one caveat with mailing both a package and a letter is that, when the stamp or shipping label is postmarked, the postmark includes a city.
So, your anonymous mailing won’t quite be 100 percent anonymous, unless you mail it from a different city than the one you live in.
Can You Get a PO Box With a Fake Name?
You can get a PO Box with a fake name, but you must clear it with the Post Office with which you’re signing up.
The name on the PO Box doesn’t make that much of a difference; it’s more the number and address.
However, you must prove that you use this other name and it must be included on the application.
From my research, this is also kind of on a case-by-case basis; one Post Office may be more forgiving toward this type of arrangement than others.
Finding out who sent an anonymous package via USPS is not a sure bet; while you can get close, with city and state information from Tracking, otherwise, you are at a loss.
Further, if you suspect the package you have been sent contains something illegal or un-mailable, like a toxic substance, reach out to your Post Office and law enforcement immediately.