Online Trust – Snail Mail

You’ve joined Facebook, Twitter, and have a blog; your contacts have grown from your next door neighbors, coworkers and school friends to folks all over your country and beyond and now one of them wants to send you a postcard.

Receiving a postcard seems like such a small thing, and relatively safe.  Your friend seems nice; they are the like you in many ways, except they live 2000 miles away. But then you start remembering the stories.

Stalkers and other creepy types abound on the Internet. Molesters showing up at homes; spammers flooding mailboxes; undesired materials showing up at people’s door steps.  You don’t want any part of that.

What’s a digital world person to do then?

I’ll let you hear the voice of Twitter.








You can see where this is headed.  Giving out a real address is not considered good advice.  The alternative? Business or PO Box.

Luckily, if you live in the US, the US Postal Service provides PO Boxes.  You can read about that service here. Similar services are also available privately.

This discussion has sealed the deal for me. I’ll be PO Box shopping next week.  How about you?

What will you do when you’re ready to get that postcard from Timbuktoo?


4 Responses to “Online Trust – Snail Mail”

  1. 1 Kathy March 30, 2008 at 3:57 am

    I’ve thought about using a PO Box, but right now I’m just not giving anything out. I’ve been at online places where we periodically traded mix cds and people gave out home addresses without thinking much about it. Sadly, I’ve met too many creepy people to do that again.

  2. 2 tojosan March 30, 2008 at 7:34 am


    Thanks for chiming in on this one. Yeah, giving out your real address can bring unwanted things to your door as quick as anything.

  3. 3 Hooeyspewer March 30, 2008 at 7:41 am

    The only way I could ever give out a mailing address to any contact that I’ve made online and didn’t know very well is if I had a dedicated P.O. Box – in another zip code from the one in which I live. Even if I was still working and had a work address, I would certainly guard the name of my employer and guard that address as if it were my own home. It is far too easy to find a person if you know who their employer is or have a zip code to search. I have had to obtain a restraining order against a stalker and it’s really not a fun thing to have to go through. It’s very serious when you have to fear for your physical security and the threat knows where you live or where you work. Personally, I had to take a leave of absence from my job for a month and left town while waiting for a court date to turn my temporary restraining order into a full restraining order. Security at my firm and at my clients’ firms had photos of the perp for their guards at the entrances. I even moved to a new home. Granted, I did not pick up my stalker online – but the opportunities for the unhinged to linger there are great.

    No worries, Todd – I won’t give anyone your address 😉

  4. 4 tojosan March 30, 2008 at 8:05 am


    Thanks for the response. Your story is a shining example of why protecting that bit of information can be so critical.

    Being an adult mail with grown children I’m less worried than some but I do feel that folks in vulnerable situations should avoid the temptation to just give their address out.

    Likewise, provides an alternative phone number for people that want to keep that safe as well. It’s perfect for giving out to anyone.

    Thanks again for stopping by and sharing that.

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