What to do about Suspicious Letters or Packages


When should I be worried about a letter or a package?

The general public is not a target for suspicious packages, but it is good to be prepared.

You know what kind of mail and packages you usually get. Look for things that are out of the ordinary. A package of concern would likely have several of these features:

  • Something looks wrong:
    • There is too much postage
    • The return address is missing or foreign
    • Your name or address is not correct or not spelled correctly
  • Something feels wrong:
    • The letter or package feels too heavy
    • You can feel wiring or powder inside
  • What else?
    • The letter or package is dirty, stained or leaking
    • There is too much tape or string
    • There is a funny smell or noise coming from it

What should I not be worried about?

  • There is no need to be worried about:
    • Mail and packages you receive from people you know
    • Mail and packages you receive from businesses you know
    • Things that you buy in stores, such as food or clothing

I received a letter or package that I am worried about. What should I do?

  • Remain calm
  • Do not open the letter or package
  • Leave the letter or package where it is
  • Get everyone out of the room and close the door
  • Call 911 (or the emergency response number in your area)
  • Wait in a safe place until the police/fire arrive

I already opened the package. Should I worry?

  • The contents of a letter or package may cause concern if:
    • You see powder or a liquid
    • It contains a threatening note
    • It contains an object that you did not expect to receive or cannot identify

I opened the package and I am worried. What should I do?

  • Remain calm
  • Leave the package where it is
  • Remove any clothing that has powder or liquid on it and seal it in a plastic bag
  • Get everyone out of the room and close the door
  • Wash your hands or shower with soap and water
  • Call 911 (or the emergency response number in your area)
  • Wait in a safe place until the police/fire arrive

What happens next?

The police, other emergency workers and public health authorities will give you advice about what to do next.

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