I have been an expat for many years and one of the most difficult challenges I have faced is what to do with my US mail. Again, I am on a search for a reliable solution. My main concern? Security. I do not want just "some guy" to open and scan the contents of my documents. Issues like ID Theft or Security Fraud concerns me. There are many mail scanning and forwarding services to choose from these days, but very few properly address the issue of security.
One company that was recommended to me was "Mailbox Forwarding, Inc", but their "F" grade by the BBB made me look elsewhere.
Earth Class Mail: This company has the best discussion about security on their website and really seems to be taking the subject seriously, the way that I want it to be taken. They mention that they are Hipaa compliant, which means that their security processes are tested and reviewed. But their pricing is breath taking. Most of their plans are $99/month. They do offer a plan that is $49/month, but you pay for every scan. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try. But after a few weeks of working with them, I am shocked. In addition to their super high monthly rates, it turns out they have super high forwarding rates. I was charged $34.25 to forward a 2 oz letter to Europe by registered post (USPS). There were no choices offered for less expensive shipments. So, I decided to look elsewhere
Traveling Mailbox: They also mention that they are Hipaa compliant, but they do not give much attention to the issue of security on their website. I read on the Earth Class Mail website that third parties are handling much of their mail. Their pricing starts at $15/month. However, they only offer 30 free page scans at that price. I liked this company so I paid for a membership and started to go through the registration process. Until I hit a snag. All companies require you to fill out form USPS 1583, a forum required by the US Post office for the company to receive your email. However, Traveling Mailbox gives people outside the USA only two options to Notarize. Go to an Embassy (never a fun experience) and pay $50 or use Notarycam.com and pay $79. Notarycam charges only $25 if you are in the USA, but $79 if you are outside of the USA. This policy seems ridiculous to me. I asked Traveling Mailbox asked about using Notarize.com a much less cheaper competitor. Nope Traveling Mailbox does not allow it. If you are outside of the USA, you must either notarize at an Embassy or with the ridiculously expensive NotaryCam.com. I suspect that TravelingMail box gets some kind of compensation from NotaryCam and this makes me uneasy about working with them.
Anytime Mailbox: After reading a few good reviews about Anytime Mailbox, I decided to investigate further. Then I discovered that Anytime Mailbox is a virtual company that simply outsources the mail forwarding tasks to 3rd parties. I found this on their Anytime Mailbox website
* Does Anytime Mailbox own its own location to accept mail and packages? "Anytime Mailbox is not a competitor to Mail Centers and Mailroom Operators - we do not have our own location to receive mail. We simply offer a private label/fully branded, secure software platform to enable businesses to offer their own digital mailbox service."
* Are you a virtual mailbox company? "No. We are a provider of software services for Mail Center owners and all types of mail room operators."
So, I wrote them an email to confirm "From what I understand from reading your website, Anytime Mailbox is a virtual company. That is, the mail handling functions are outsourced to 3rd parties. Is that correct?" Their response "Yes. We partner with mail center operators and business centers." This does not seem very secure to me. They do not control who sees my mail. I decided to look elsewhere.
Virtual Postal Mail: I am currently investigating this company. I like what I see, though they may not be appropriate for everyone. Their office is based in California and they have a second one in Nevada. California is good for me, because I like having a California postal address. They also say that they are Hippa compliant. Their monthly fees start at $15 which seems reasonable and they have a very clear statement about costs of forwarding mail. Shipping prices for a letter to Europe start at $6.75. Form USPS 1583 can be notarized via Notarize.com (for $25). They also say "Both U.S. and non-U.S. notary seals are accepted. If finding a notary proves impossible, you can go through a lawyer or bank official who can sign or stamp an official seal on the form.". This seems very flexible to me. I wrote them a few emails to ask some questions and received prompt replies. In terms of security, costs and flexibility, Virtual Post Mail seems like my best option. I have opened an account and will try their services to see if it is true.