Certified mail is a type of delivery service that permits the sender to track and verify mailing and delivery. The sender receives a receipt as proof the letter was mailed. In addition, the person who receives a certified letter must sign for it. The signature on a receipt is available to the sender and is proof the letter was delivered. Businesses, government agencies and law firms often use certified mail to deliver important documents. Before you can tell who sent you certified mail, you must sign for the item. The Post Office will not tell you who sent it.
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Look in the upper left corner of the envelope for the return address of the sender. The sender's name will often be located with the return address. If the return address is not there, look on the back of the envelope. Occasionally, a sender will place the return address there.
Examine the “green card,” if there is one. Senders can request that a signed receipt be sent to them confirming delivery. If that’s the case, you’ll be asked to sign a green receipt card in addition to signing for the certified mail. The sender’s name and address must appear on the card.
Verify the place where the certified letter was mailed. First, look on the envelope. Each piece of certified mail has a bar code. At the bottom of the bar code you will see a series of numerals. This is the tracking number for the certified letter. Go to the U.S. Postal Service “Track and Confirm” web page. Enter the tracking number. The system cannot give you the identity of the sender. However, it will tell you from which Postcode (and therefore post office) the letter was sent. This provides some confirmation that the sender’s return address is valid.
Tips and warnings
- You can use the U.S. Postal Service Track and Confirm system to check the status and delivery of certified mail, packages and other special items you send via the mail.
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