Suspicious Mail

The chances of ever receiving a contaminated piece of mail, or one containing a specific threat or an explosive device, are remote, but a small number of envelopes or packages containing biological, chemical, or explosive materials have been carried through the mail in recent years. Common sense and attention to anything unusual about the mail piece can help protect you if such an item is received in your office.

What makes a piece of mail suspicious?

  • It's unexpected or from someone unknown to you
  • It's addressed to someone no longer at the address
  • It's handwritten or has misspelled words
  • It has no return address or one you believe is not legitimate
  • The postmark city is different from return address city
  • It's lopsided, lumpy, has bulges or protruding wires
  • It's sealed with excessive amounts of tape
  • It's marked with restrictive endorsements, such as "Personal" or "Confidential"
  • It has excessive postage
  • It has oily stains, discoloration, or a crystallized substance on the outside

What should be done with a suspicious piece of mail?

  • Don't handle or open it
  • Don't shake, bump, sniff or taste it
  • Isolate the piece and place it inside a sealed plastic bag, if possible
  • Do not discard the item
  • Remove all staff from immediate area
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
  • Notify University police or 911

(Directives courtesy of U.S. Postal Service)

Contact Mail Services (518-442-3272) if you would like more information on mail safety, or if you would like to schedule a presentation by Mail Services on how to safely handle mail.