FW: All Stamps Created Equal at Post Office

Joe Barrera (joebar@MICROSOFT.com)
Fri, 15 Aug 1997 09:46:32 -0700

You can hack the internet, you can hack the phone system... evidently
you can hack the USPS as well.


Almost everybody in America thinks it costs 32 cents to mail a
first-class letter.

It doesn't.

As the U.S. Postal Service asks for yet another rate increase, stamp
experts not affiliated with the post office warn that the highly
automated system that sorts and cancels letters simply can't tell the
difference between first-class postage and lower-denomination stamps.

The equipment is designed to recognize a phosphorescent band on stamps.
However, the amount of the chemical is the same on most stamps, allowing
letters with insufficient postage to sail through, the experts say,
exposing a potential hole in the Postal Service's lucrative revenue

As a test of that vulnerability, The Chronicle mailed out 96 letters
around the nation, some with as little as 5 cents postage, and none with
a 32 cent stamp.
Almost all the letters were delivered with no questions asked.

- Joe

Joseph S. Barrera III <joebar@microsoft.com>
Phone, Office: (415) 778-8227; Cellular: (415) 601-3719; Home: (415)
The opinions expressed in this message are my own personal views and do
not reflect the official views of Microsoft Corporation.