Sussex County Delaware

Tips for Handling,
ID'ing Suspicious Mail

Anthrax ...

The Delaware Division of Public Health has released the following tips for identifying suspicious mail and handling your mail. These tips apply not only to anthrax tainted mail but other forms of suspicious mailings.

Businesses that conduct bulk mailings should also be careful to avoid sending mail with these signs of suspicion.

Identifying Suspicious Mail
  • Excessive postage
  • Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
  • Incorrect titles
  • Title, but no name
  • Misspellings of common words
  • Oily stains, discoloration or odor
  • No return address
  • Excessive weight
  • Lopsided or uneven envelope
  • Protruding wires or aluminum foil
  • Excessive security material such as masking tape, string, etc.
  • Visual distractions
  • Ticking sound
  • Marked with words such as "restrictive" or "confidential."
  • Shows a city or state in the postmark that does not match the return address.
Handling Suspicious Mail
  • Do not shake or empty the contents of a suspicious package or envelope.

  • Do not carry the package or envelope around, show it to others or let others handle it.

  • Put the package or envelope on a stable surface. Do not sniff, touch, taste or look closely at it.

  • Alert others in the area about any suspicious mail. Leave the area and keep others away from it. Shut off any ventilation systems, if possible.

  • Wash hands with soap and water to prevent spreading potentially infectious material to face or skin. Seek additional attention for exposed or potentially exposed persons.

  • Contact authorities.

  • Create a list of people in the room at the time suspicious mail was recognized. Create a list of people who may have handled it. Give the list to authorities.

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