This free service will help you make sure you get all your mail

Now you'll know as soon as that important letter arrives in your mailbox!

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Have you ever been waiting for an important piece of mail to arrive, and it never does? You can get frustrated when you realize your mail has been lost or stolen. Now the U.S. Postal Service is launching a new, free mail service to help eliminate that problem. It’s called Informed Delivery, and it allows you to see photos of mail coming to your house before it arrives.

The USPS takes photos of letter-sized mail during scanning and processing at its facilities. Participants who opt into the mail service then receive a daily email with the images of your mail, so you know what to expect that day. You can download an app from Apple or Google (Android) to get the messages sent directly to your smartphone.

Right now the service only includes letter-sized mail. But the USPS may add flat-sized pieces, such as catalogues and magazines, to the list soon.

The free service runs nationwide. However, not every location has it, yet. So search your zip code on the site to see if you can take advantage.

mail photo
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

Mail service can help prevent identity theft

It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your incoming mail, as mail theft often leads to identity theft. In fact, The Federal Trade Commission estimates 400,000 people had their identities stolen last year because of mail theft.

“We tend to find the suspects are looking for checks, things that they can alter or ‘wash’ to convert to their own gain,” postal inspector Mike Carroll told WNCN.

mail photo
Getty Images | Joe Raedle

In addition to signing up for Informed Delivery, you can protect yourself from mail theft by going to the post office and stopping your mail. If no one plans to be at your home to pick up the mail, consider doing this to prevent a back up in your mailbox.

Also, consider directly mailing your bills and letters. Many people raise the flag on their mailbox for outgoing mail instead of going to the post office. Unfortunately, that flag can also serve as a notice to criminals that potential beneficial mail waits inside. To be on the safe side, take your mail directly to the post office instead.

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