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A mail drop or ghost address is an entity that can receive mail in your name.

For a little more on why would you want to do this, see JJ Luna.

A CMRA stands for a commercial mail receiving agency. Not a good option.

Edited for clarity: I'm looking for a physical mail option, not an e-mail option, of course.

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This looks like a question that would be on-topic on the main site (not here on meta: it's not about the site itself). But it is hard to understand: what are your criteria for reliability? That they maintain your privacy with respect to most third parties? with respect to government entities? that they respect your confidentiality? that they aren't likely to go out of business? that they don't lose mails? … –  Gilles Jan 16 '13 at 13:02
    
A little bit of all of the above, yes. –  superuser Jan 18 '13 at 11:09
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For those not prepared to register there, can you pop a summary of its points into the question. –  Rory Alsop Jan 22 '13 at 21:59
    
@Rory Alsop? Clarify pls. –  superuser Jan 23 '13 at 10:44
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That JJ Luna page - you need to register to be able to read the doc, and peole may not want to do that, so any chance of a quick summary of the points so we know why you would want to do this? –  Rory Alsop Jan 23 '13 at 10:47
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2 Answers

(Personally I think your question is the limit to be considered or not, a cueston IT Security. your question is rather general and can bring in deception, it is unclear whether you are talking about email or mail, the book is well known, and speaks only of "mail" address.)

So I'll assume you are talking about traditional mail.


A security expert, both in computer science and in other environments, it's really a good observer, when using computers to solve the questions of security, or if used for research, should be obtained multiple information and should be used half provisions in the country where you live, because the IT development level is not the same in any country in the world.

Is not the same research a U.S. address and to investigate an address in a country elsewhere in the world less developed (I avoid names undeveloped countries to avoid any type of discrimination).
Therefore we can say that there is no tool or overall methodology to identify this type of services.

Before all, let's assume you want to use clear public and legal methods to obtain information and you do not is developing or attempting to use any tools of government to access this private data and reserved for other citizens.

The first major question must always be:

My research activity is legal?

If you sense that your business needs to help identify fraud, and does not have Access to research facilities, may choose to hire legitimate services that will do the service for you. In many countries there are state entities and parastatals, to help you get this type of information.

If you identify that your research is legal and will only use the information available on the net legally. You should proceed to make some deductions.

Suppose you want to investigate a U.S. address. and that there is no real difference between a ghost address and a private legitimate address It will be almost impossible to know if this address is associated with a real person or entities. especially if this entity is not a CMRA.

But should you think that those who use these services legally just want to hide your real address, and does not care to hide if using some service to hide your own address.

So easily may found right useful information through automated search engines.

Well one of the weak points of this type of service (mail drop) is that you can not generate fictitious buildings and that would not come profitable to the company that offers this service, build a fictional building, for each customer.

So this is going to generate a common denominator. It is likely that other users on the web, are using the same personal address so we can carry out three simple cross-searching.

So if we can find some other user on the web is using this address. for it deserves support from any search engine. This first search will be useful for next searches. as a method of comparing different cross data of the residents.

Google Research

A second search can be performed on a search engine for finding people and residents as this example:

Whitepages Research

You can find information about nearby residents and to the entered address.

Every business, especially services company, needs visibility to get new customers, and if the company is not big enough, is likely to have the same commercial office address their service address, doing a search on the building you can find readily useful data about the building and its residents.

Spokeo Research

With these simple tools, you can create your detection pattern, as you can see, all this information could be obtained automatically by scanning software and the data could be analyzed with a simple neural network trained pair this type of work. empowers well be implemented in any type of web service.


The address used in the three searches is completely random and has been used for demonstration purposes only.

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There are a number of services that run under the guise of disposable email address providers. These services produce email addresses that can be used anonymously to sign up on sites that require email validation--usually requiring no password to access. I won't name them here, a simple search on that term should provide plenty of options.

If you are looking more security, a service like Hushmail provides encrypted email inboxes.

If you are gearing more towards anonymity you can use Tor to provide privacy while using various email services.

Be careful though--as always, if you are not paying, you are the product.

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I might have misunderstood the OP, but I think s/he was asking about physical mail (not email). In other words, he wants to give a proxy address every time he orders something online, and have all packages/mail sent to that proxy address forwarded to his real address (which only the proxy service knows). –  Tom Marthenal Jan 25 '13 at 22:35
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