Opening the mail used to be a mundane task. Now it can have deadly consequences. The receptionist and/or mail room staff should be briefed on the types of hazards posed by suspicious packages or letters. In particular, there should be a set of protocols put into place to deal with any letters or packages that appear suspicious. The most important protocol is to notify authorities immediately. Do not attempt to open or move the package. Evacuating to the building may be a prudent measure, depending on the location of the mailroom and the package.
General Suspicious Mail Indicators
Be suspicious of any letter or package that:
- Has any powdery substance on the outside.
- Is unexpected or from someone unfamiliar to you.
- Has excessive postage, is handwritten or contains a poorly typed address, incorrect title or just a title with no name, or misspells common words.
- Is addressed to someone no longer with your organization or is otherwise outdated.
- Has no return address or one that can’t be verified as legitimate.
- Is of unusual weight, given its size, or is lopsided or oddly shaped.
- Has an unusual amount of tape on it.
- Is marked with restrictive endorsements, such as “Personal” or “Confidential.”
- Has strange odors or stains, or protruding wires.
Don’t open any parcel until verified as safe. If you receive a suspicious letter or package:
- Handle with care. Don’t shake or bump.
- Don’t open, smell, touch or taste it.
- Isolate it immediately.
- Treat is as suspect. Call local law enforcement authorities.
U.S. Postal Service
Security Issues Checklist