Addressing an envelope so no one reads it but the intended recipient requires a multifaceted approach. The type of envelope you use, the way you address it and the method with which you send it all work together to increase the likelihood of keeping your piece of mail away from prying eyes. These preventative steps might seem excessive, but are necessary in age of in which fraud and identity theft are a concern.
Use a Security Envelope
Visit a stationery store and buy a security envelope. This type of envelope often looks normal from the outside, but the inside is printed with a pattern that prevents someone from reading the content of the mail from the outside. Security envelopes are available in a wide range of sizes, and some security envelopes also contain wording such as, "Personal & Confidential."
Write the Address
The manner in which you write the recipient's name and address on a confidential piece of mail is the same for any type of mail. Write the recipient's address on the center of the front of the envelope as you normally would. Include the recipient's name, street address, city, state and ZIP code. For business mail, include the recipient's business name and any relevant information that ensures the mail reaches him, such as his suite number or floor number.
Label the Letter as Confidential
In large letters, above the recipient's name and address, write a message to indicate that your letter is private and meant only for the recipient. Suitable choices include, "Personal & Confidential" and "Private." Write the message with a thick, black marker to ensure it stands out. Although some people also write this message below the address, the U.S. Postal Service warns against writing anything below the address, as doing so could create problems with the sorting machine.
Buy Signature Confirmation
Instead of dropping your letter in a mailbox, take it to a post office and put signature confirmation on the mail. Although this service costs more than a standard stamp, it ensures the letter's recipient receives it directly from the mail carrier; the recipient must show proper identification and provide a signature before the mail carrier releases the mail to him. Once the recipient receives the mail, you get an online notification if you've created a USPS online account.
- North Carolina State University: Confidential Mail Procedures
- United States Postal Service: Business Mail 101
- Laughing All the Way to Work: A Survival Blog for Today's Administrative Assistant: Proper Placement of Personal & Confidential on an Envelope
- United States Postal Service: Signature Confirmation Form
- Adam Korst/Demand Media