Suspicious Mail Precautions

It has been several years since widespread and well publicized incidents involving the mailing of harmful substances via mail were reported. Nonetheless, your local and Federal law enforcement agencies do remind you to remain vigilant about the mail you receive.

Suspicious Mail Characteristics
Mail should be considered suspicious if meets some of the following requirements:
  • No return address, or return address differs from postmark
  • Foreign postmarks and writing, or misspelled words
  • Addressed to title only or wrong title with name
  • Marked personal, confidential, private, special delivery, or do not x-ray, etc.
  • Excessive postage
  • Peculiar odors (such as shoe polish or almonds)
  • Oily stains, ink stains, discoloration, or crystallization of wrapper
  • Wires, strings, or foil sticking out
  • Excessive tape or sealing material or inner sealed enclosure
  • Items containing a powder-like or unusual substance
  • Unusual or abnormal shape, size, or weight
  • Lopsided or uneven, rigid or bulky
Do's & Don'ts
  • Don't open, touch, move, shake, or immerse in water any suspicious packages or letters.
  • Don't cut tape, strings, or other wrappings.
  • Don't taste or smell package or its contents.
  • Do report all suspicious packages and letters to the authorities.
  • Do wash your hands immediately after handling the mail.
  • If suspicious mail is believed to be a bomb, evacuate the building and call 911.
  • If suspicious mail is believed to contain a chemical or biological agent isolate the area and those exposed. If exposed wash hands and exposed skin with warm soapy water. Call 911.
  • If suspicious mail is believed to contain a radiological threat, evacuate the area and call 911.