Now You Need Photo ID To Ship A UPS Package

Because there’s nothing that stops fraud or terrorism like being made to show a photo ID, UPS has announced that customers will need to show a government-issued ID when shipping that tin of cookies to their Aunt Mable for her 90th birthday.

The policy, which comes as a response to those explosive devices shipped on a cargo plane in October, covers all UPS customers who aren’t using a pre-printed shipping label at any retail outlet where the parcel company picks up packages.

Says a UPS VP, who probably got the job for looking really sexy in brown shorts:

Since retail centers experience a significant increase in business from occasional shippers during the busy holidays, this enhancement adds a prudent step in our multilayered approach to security.

We don’t know about you, but between this news and Walmart’s partnership with Homeland Security, we certainly feel safer.

UPS Expands Photo ID Requirement for Retail Shipping [Bloomberg]


Edit Your Comment

  1. human_shield says:

    Lets hope the terrorists don’t figure out how to use preprinted shipping labels.

    • spamtasticus says:

      If you print the label at home then you can be identified by your IP and or sign in to the UPS site along with the credit card used to pay for the shipping. Furthermore, your printer prints little dots that you cant see on everything you print so the FBI can track it back to you.

      Secret Printer Marks:

      • Doncosmic says:

        All of those things are pretty easily circumvented.

        • JoeDawson says:

          I can use a computer with a cloned MAC address at a coffee shop, then go into fedex and use their printer.

        • spamtasticus says:

          Agreed. Either way. I just went down to the local UPS store to ship something to a country in Europe and all ready to not show them ID. They did not card me. When I inquired why they had not the attendant firs was quizzical about how I knew about the ID’s if it had just started today and then informed me that he did not ask me because “He knew me”. Mind you, I have shipped a few boxes with them in the past but how does that “identify” me as not a threat? I then asked him when the training session would be for them to learn to identify fake ID’s from every state in the US and every country of the world he just stared at me blankly and confessed that he knew it was total BS as well.

      • Megalomania says:

        proxies, public computers (and throw in a proxy too, why not!), and the printer dots (not all printers do that, incidentally) are not that difficult to circumvent

      • MrEvil says:

        The secret printer marks only work when you have the entire 8.5×11 sheet If it’s just a portion of that page you don’t know what section of the paper that label came from. Also don’t work when you print in the negative :p

      • gman863 says:

        “To Do” list keystroke-logged from Osama Bin Laden’s secret cave IP address…

        1. Buy Starbucks gift cards for all Al-Queda operatives (free wi-fi).

        2. Check Amazon and for deals on mini printers. Order blank labels from Office Depot.

        3. Contact guy at Tijuana flea market to have new fake IDs made for everyone.

    • Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

      +1 Internetz for you!

    • doinkyTHEcup says:

      Let’s hope the terrorists don’t figure out how to make fake ids.

  2. Darkrose says:

    That quote was almost unreadable with all the buzzwords.

    Sounds like UPS is aligning their synergies with DHS to insure that people are one step closer to identity theft when shipping packages.

  3. MPD01605 says:

    The underwear and shoe terrorists board planes overseas, so we overreact with security at our own airports.
    The terrorists send printer cartridges from hostile countries, so we make grandma show ID.
    Makes sense.

  4. bsh0544 says:

    Wait, so all I have to do to get around this is print the shipping label at home? Isn’t that trivially easy?

    • tripnman says:

      Why yes, yes it is. Especially for Consumerist readers who already make all their own everythings at home.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      Yes, but if your printer cartridges are full of explosive instead of ink, no.

    • BorkBorkBork says:

      Shh…they want us to believe that terrorists have no common sense.

    • Gramin says:

      Yes, except that you’ll have to use a credit card. Something tells me that most terrorists try to pay in cash, though I could be wrong.

      • bsh0544 says:

        What about a prepaid debit card? I can go buy one right now that would process the same as any credit card.

        • Gramin says:

          They’re not the same as credit cards, they just appear to be similar. UPS requires you to create an account before preparing shipping labels. Part of this process includes providing a credit/debit card. When UPS attempts to verify the credit/debit card, it might not accept it if you’ve given them a prepaid card.

          I’m not 100% sure on that, but it’s a good chance.

          Either way, it adds one more layer of security. You do this from home, they now have your location. So you go to the library, now they know what general area you’re in.

          I don’t see this as a problem at all.

          • Doncosmic says:

            Or I spoof an IP so they think i’m in another part of the country. I know people talk about trivial security measures when stopping petty credit card fraud on this site a lot. In those cases the “adds an extra layer of security” argument might work, because the guy who finds your wallet after you drop in somewhere is likely going to be too lazy to get by some of this stuff. One would assume someone motivated enough to send a bomb however would be, especially something this easy.

      • TheGreySpectre says:

        It’s not like they would have a terribly difficult time coming up stolen credit card info

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          yep. stolen card, fake ID, stolen printer, IP proxy… most high school seniors could get around this

        • Gramin says:

          Agreed. But that still makes them easier to track. And, I think most consumers are diligent with their credit cards and report them stolen relatively fast. Terrorists would have at most a few days to use that credit card… then they’d have to go get another one… and another one.

  5. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    What records are being kept of your ID and the packages you ship?

    • whatsfair says:

      anyone have more info in What UPS does with the ID info – stored – in their system. They wanted to enter my Drivers License# into their Database – but refused to answer why and what they would do with that info.

      Also UPS would not provide any written Privacy policy regarding this. No longer shipping via UPS – that is for sure.

      and UPS has spent $$ Millions to prevent Air Cargo scanning for packages that it sends on passenger airplanes.

      So helpful to national security.

  6. blinky says:

    Cool. Now people with middle eastern names can end up on the No Ship List.

  7. GriffonJames says:

    Note to evil-doers: go to the library and print out your shipping label before you drop your package at UPS. Laugh silently as you walk past the innocent people forced to show their IDs and suffering through the slower lines.

    • Gramin says:

      Except that you have to use a credit card to ship via their online tool. Or have an account number. Both of which are easy to track whereas entering a store and paying with cash is extremely difficult to track.

  8. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    So new instructions:
    1:use a fake/stolen credit card to print label
    2:bring to ups drop box.
    3: ???
    4: traditionally we’re talking about profit, but since this is all about fearmongering, BOOM.

  9. Tim says:

    I print my own shipping labels at home.

  10. tedyc03 says:

    Or I can just send it through the US mail, right? That’s a cheaper option anyway.

    UPS: helping keep the Postal Service relevant and in business!

  11. spamtasticus says:

    The Government requires Photo ID to use Cash!

    Today at 11!

    • Shield Ramrod says:

      Oh, god. Don’t joke. Oh, god. That hadn’t occurred to me. I’d better sit down. — not being sarcastic.

  12. gglockner says:

    And they’re doing this just for packages shipped from the Persian gulf? Oops, I forgot: this is security theater, where we do things for show rather than actually trying to make life safer. So we’ll bother Aunt Susie-Q rather than the real terrorists.

  13. Liam Kinkaid says:

    “Says a UPS VP, who probably got the job for looking really sexy in brown shorts”

    I require proof before I say yea or nay on the sexy factor.

  14. bee8boo8bop8 says:

    UPS hasn’t told us about this, and my family owns an authorized UPS shipping outlet. Are they seriously introducing this in freakin’ December?

    Oh, this is going to be so much fun to explain to our longtime, small town customers. “Yes, Mrs. Adams, I know you’ve known me since I was in elementary school, but I still need ID.”


    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      that reminds me of something on the paperwork when i applied for a passport in 2004. if you cannot provide “primary identification” you can use the following:

      “A Combination of Identifying Documents

      Present a combination of documents that can be used to verify your personal identity. These documents are not acceptable as secondary identification when presented alone.

      Example: Social Security Card + Credit Card + Employee ID + Library Card

      An Identifying Witness

      An identifying witness is a person who can swear to your identity. He or she must:

      * Be present at the time of application
      * Have known you for at least 2 years
      * Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
      * Have valid ID
      * Fill out Form DS-71: Affidavit of Identifying Witness in the presence of a Passport Agent”

      so yeah, apparently a credit card, a library card and a person with their own ID to vouch for you will get you a passport.
      got to love it.

      • bee8boo8bop8 says:

        Apparently UPS overnighted a letter to us yesterday. The only forms of ID we are allowed to accept are government issued photo IDs. Nothing else.

  15. dolemite says:

    As long as terrorists are of the lazy or incompetent type…we are all perfectly safe with our mediocre security measures of minimum wage employees groping our nuts, 90 year old walmart greeters figuring out their master plans, and UPS spotting fake IDs.

    It’s like we exchange .000000000000000000000000001% more safety for 99.99% more hassle and loss of privacy.

    • tooluser says:


    • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

      And you know what kills me about that? The people who truly don’t understand objections to massive increases in hassle and loss of privacy. And who also don’t understand that everytime we ratchet up the hassle and loss of privacy, that’s the “new normal” and we can’t ever adjust back down again because then people won’t “feel safe.”

  16. Dr.Wang says:

    I will NOT be handing any of the teenage creeps that occupy most of our area UPS stores my drivers license. Post Office, here I come!

  17. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    I’ll just forget about UPS and send it USPS then.

  18. whatsfair says:

    but yet UPS never requires ID to dump a package anywhere – that is supposed to be delivered to you – and only you — many stolen packages thanks to UPS poor delivery.

  19. xr1ddl3rx says:

    ummm they’ve been doing this since 2007 in my area…

  20. Mecharine says:

    This just means more counterfeit IDs.

  21. Jerkamie says:

    Why don’t they just inspect the box after its accepted?

  22. PsiCop says:

    Let me understand this correctly. Some cadre of murderous sociopathic Yemeni Islamofacists ship explosives in packages out of that country, therefore, everyone in the US who wants to ship something, is by definition a suspected terrorist?

    Makes sense. Not to me … but it must, to someone, somewhere.

  23. Erika'sPowerMinute says:

    In barely-related news–related in the I-freakin’-hate-having-to-show-my-ID-all-damn-day sense–I have to show an ID to pick up my daughter from school. With her standing right there next to me in the office. Because she’s nine years old and apparently is incapable of saying, “Hey, wait, you’re not my mom!”

    Remove brain, insert blanket policies to replace actual thought processes.

    • cheeley says:

      Jeremy clarkson on the US:

      “But it’s the idiocracy that really gets me down. The constant coaxing you have to do to get anything done. “No” is the default setting whether you want to change lanes on a motorway or get a drink on a Sunday. It’s like trying to negotiate with a donkey. Once, I urged a cop in Pensacola, Florida, to use his common sense and let me load a van in the no loading zone, since the airport was shut and it would make no difference. “Sir,” he said, “you don’t need common sense when you’ve got laws.”

      That, I think, probably says it all. “

    • erinpac says:

      I think that’s likely more for bad-divorce situations. The kid might not object… but there could be big trouble if the relative isn’t on that list of allowed adults, even if they ARE someone the kid knows.

  24. keepntabs says:

    This really doesn’t make sense, because dangerous packages are not only brought to the UPS service centers. What about all of the UPS drop boxes that are in office buildings or on the streets (at least in larger cities)? Anyone can put packages in them, and the drop-box doesn’t ask to see any ID. This type of policy is just another knee-jerk ill-thought out reaction to something to make the public think that company is being proactive. This reminds of the airline policy implemented after the unsuccessful underwear bombing last Christmas; all passengers had to remain seated during the last our of an INTERNATIONAL flight. Obviously, a terrorist wouldn’t try to blow up a domestic flight or set off the bomb one hour and two minutes before landing.


  25. stevied says:

    Big Whoopee. “Security” is the name of the new marketing scheme.

    Let me count the ways this will fail…

    Flag down any UPS driver and hand him/her a box. The driver’s aren’t suppose to accept the box (for security reasons) yet I personally watch such activity several times per month so it is obvious that is a common enough occurance.

    Ask your favorite small business to do the shipping. Again, against the rules as only designated package drop off businesses are allowed to ship random goods. But what the heck, the small business is already accepting packages from their employees, family, friends etc. so why not add a few more extra packages to the mix.

    Work for a business. Any business. Substitute your illegal stuff for the vendors legal stuff OR add your illegal stuff to the shipping logs. This is how the average illegal drug shipper is currently operating. Can ship quite a few packages this way. Lose your job when the Boss Man finds out but what the heck, meth is so darn profitable.

    Set up a legit (for the moment) business. Convert to illegal stuff when you want. Can ship A LOT of illegal packages this way. A modest sized business can ship several thousand packages in a single day. That is a lot of meth, bombs or whatever.

    Soooooo….. our good friends are going to inspect the ID of a few random people dropping off packages at legit package acceptance centers. Yes there are a lot of packages through those acceptance centers. But the bad guys are not going ot care. There are still dozens of ways of getting your package into the system without showing your ID.

    • Ducatisti says:

      ” The driver’s aren’t suppose to accept the box (for security reasons) yet I personally watch such activity several times per month so it is obvious that is a common enough occurance.”

      Yes, they are supposed to accept a box handed to them out on route.

  26. Package Man says:

    I own a Pack and Ship store and I WON’T be enforcing this ridiculous rule.

  27. gman863 says:

    Does this mean I can go into the UPS Store and tell them “If you touch my package I’ll have you arrested”?

  28. Britt says:

    All that’s being asked is for the clerk to look at it. No record is kept.

    I work at a store that offers UPS services. Absolutely not going to be doing this. It’s baloney.

  29. Mcshonky says:

    Yes, because third party retail workers and UPS clerks can tell the difference between real and fake ID.

  30. pot_roast says:

    They have been doing this for about 5 years now, actually. This is the first year they’re putting up signs about it and making a bigger deal of it.

  31. daemonaquila says:

    Lots of other shippers in the world. Bye, UPS. Someone else gets my money.

  32. Ducatisti says:

    Why is it that we are now freaking out when we need to show ID? Back “in olden days” when I wrote checks, I recall having to show my driver’s license. Many times, the license number and the check information were entered into that store’s computer system (or chipped out on a rock tablet, I can’t remember exactly).

    I agree, this new requirement is a lame knee-jerk reaction to a terrorist plot that originated outside the US, but everyone’s instant reaction of “hell no, you can’t see my ID!” is just as knee-jerky.

    On a side note, shipping UPS is cheaper than USPS if the package weighs more than 5 lbs, or if you need to insure it.