My friend, Pat, is a mail carrier in Key West. She tells me that for the first time ever, her local Post Office is downsizing. Because so many people are receiving and paying their bills online these days, the sheer quantity of snail mail is dwindling. Nevertheless, when we travel, there is still the question of what to do about our mail. With identity theft becoming more prevalent, it is no longer advisable to leave your mail in the box until you return. For the same reason, asking a good-hearted neighbor to pick up your mail is no longer an option. No matter how responsible your neighbor, the signs of an empty house or apartment could allow access to what lands in your mailbox…bank statements, credit card bills, etc.

Today I learned of a new online service being provided by the U.S.Postal Service. Now you can notify the Post Office to hold mail when traveling in two minutes flat without even leaving your house. They’ll hold your mail from three to 30 days, and then resume normal delivery on the date you specify. Just click on the following link and you can quickly fill out the form online: USPS Mail Hold. If your area isn’t served online simply call 1 800 ASK USPS (1 800 275 8777) and a representative can assist you.

Many thanks to Ruben Concepcion of Keys Financial in Key West for this valuable tip. Ruben is one of the best mortgage brokers I have ever met and his monthly newsletter is chock full of many useful and interesting articles.