DEAR SUN SPOTS: I applied for an online postal exam, but never took it and was charged for it. Can you find an address or phone number to get a hold of them? Can anyone help me? Thanks. — No name, Lewiston.

ANSWER: The United States Postal Service does not charge for applications or for its 473 Postal Exam.

When you signed up to start the employment process, you should have had an account set up through the USPS website and then you should have received a confirmation email which would have included the relevant contact information. If you never received a confirmation email directly from USPS, you may have paid a third party for an exam preparation service, a common scam that the USPS warns its job applicants about: “Scam artists are victimizing people by selling information about federal job opportunities. They offer — for a fee — to help job seekers find and apply for federal jobs. Some even try to confuse consumers with names similar to federal agencies, such as U.S. Agency for Career Advancement or the Postal Employment Service.”

If someone alerts you to a Postal Service job, always check with a local Postal Service facility or on the internet at to determine whether a job is available and an exam is required for eligibility.

If you believe you have been charged by a third party that misled you in any way, contact the Maine Attorney General, 207-626-8800 or 6 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333. More information and contacts are available at

DEAR READERS: Several people have written to Sun Spots about their passport application experience. Here is some of their input:

DEAR SUN SPOTS: When my passport experience appeared in Sun Spots, a friend called to say she had a great experience at the Lewiston Post Office. Her paperwork was checked and the post office provided an envelope for her to mail the material to PA. This just shows how important Sun Spots is to all of us. Thanks. — Mary Ann Norcross, Auburn.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I knew that they didn’t take the pictures, but I believe if you get pictures taken and go to the post office you can avoid mailing them and get quicker service. — Robert Mennealy, Auburn.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I renewed my passport last August at the Lewiston Post Office. They have the forms, take the pictures, and you can mail the paperwork. One-stop shopping. — Heidi George, Bowdoin.

ANSWER: The U.S. Post Office in Lewiston does take passport photos for $15. 

There are very specific requirements for a passport photo, which can make them difficult to take on your own. They must be 2×2 inches with a white background and the head must be center in the frame with a neutral expression. If you are interested in taking your own photo, more information about the requirements and a handy digital photo guide can be found at You can also get passport photos through most of your local pharmacy photo counters or Photo Finish in the Auburn Mall.

Use the QR code to go to Sun Spots online for additional information and links. This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can be emailed to [email protected], tweeted @SJ_SunSpots or posted on the Sun Spots Facebook page at This column can also be read online at We’ve joined Pinterest at