Got this letter in the mail addressed to Peters Household or Current Resident.  Not necessarily a warm welcome from the United States State Department.

It’s the bureau run by Secretary John Kerry who is in the high ranks of diplomatic relations for the U.S.  This organization also authorizes citizens to travel internationally via passport.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Back to the letter which is a random survey of citizens with the goal of determining who will need their services in the next 12 months.  This is not a scam.  If it is, whoever is perpetrating it would be in a big pile of trouble.

A couple of things struck me as odd.  The mailing required full postage as opposed to a bulk-rate or free postage.  According to the USPS website, this correspondence is classified as Prepaid Mail - mail relating exclusively to the business of the U.S. government that is sent postage prepaid using a Commercial Payment Option.  This mail should carry the endorsement "Official Business” which checks out.  A red flag stemmed from the return address which is a P.O. Box in Allentown, PA.  On the stationary the address listed is Washington, D.C.  The connection between those locations is unclear.

Another is the stationary which is normal 8.5 by 11 inch paper with only blue ink used for the State Department seal.  That’s a contrast from what the actual seal looks like which sports at least five colors.  To the good end of things, there is confirmation on the State Department Website about a passport survey.

Hesitating at first, I didn’t want to fill it out and expand my digital footprint.  Nonetheless, my fears were unfounded as very little personal information was needed to complete the survey.

The survey was done electronically and took about 5 minutes to complete.  Hopefully, my information will help the Office of Passport Services do their job more efficiently.