mail is vitally important to its people and its economy. We depend on the
Postal Service to keep the mail moving safely and securely and to keep customers
and employees safe and secure. The information below describes how to identify a
suspicious mail piece and the procedures to follow:
constitutes a suspicious letter or parcel?
characteristics which ought to trigger suspicion include letters or parcels
- Have any powdery substance on the outside.
- Are unexpected or from someone unfamiliar to
- Have excessive postage, handwritten or poorly
typed address, incorrect titles or titles with no name, or misspellings of
- Are addressed to someone no longer with your
organization or are otherwise outdated.
- Have no return address, or have one that can't
be verified as legitimate.
- Are of unusual weight, given their size, or
are lopsided or oddly shaped.
- Have an unusual amount of tape.
- Are marked with restrictive endorsements, such
as "Personal" or "Confidential."
- Have strange odors or stains.
What Should I do if I Receive an Anthrax Threat by Mail?
- Do not handle the mail piece or package
suspected of contamination.
- Make sure that damaged or suspicious packages
are isolated and the immediate area cordoned off.
- Ensure that all persons who have touched the
mail piece wash their hands with soap and water.
- Notify your local law enforcement authorities.
- List all persons who have touched the letter
and/or envelope. Include contact information and have this information
available for the authorities.
- Place all items worn when in contact with the
suspected mail piece in plastic bags and have them available for law
- As soon as practical, shower with soap and
- Notify the Center for Disease Control
Emergency Response at 770-488-7100 for answers to any questions.
The simple act of paying attention to incoming mail will go a long way in
keeping it safe and viable. Everyone, in the mailing community, as well as the
American public, should exercise common sense.