How to Identify and Handle Suspicious Packages and Mail

How to Recognize Suspicious Packages and Mail

One indicator of a suspicious package or piece of mail includes inappropriate or unusual labeling, such as:
– Excessive postage
– Misspelled common words
– No return address or strange return address
– Unusual addressing, such as not being addressed to a specific person or the use of incorrect titles or titles with no name
– Restrictive markings, such as “personal,” “confidential,” or “do not x-ray”
– Other indicators include an unusual or inappropriate appearance, including:
– Powdery substances felt through or appearing on the item
– Oily stains or discolorations on the exterior
– Strange odors
– Excessive packaging material, like tape or string
– Lopsided or bulky shape of envelopes or boxes
– Ticking sounds, protruding wires, or exposed aluminum foil

Procedures for Handling to Suspicious Packages and Mail

– Stay calm.
– Do not open the letter or package (or open any further), do not shake it, do not show it to others, or empty its contents.
– Leave the letter or package where it is or gently place it on the nearest flat surface.
– If possible, gently cover the letter (use a trash can, article of clothing, etc.).
– Shut off any fans or equipment in the area that may circulate the material.
– Alert others nearby to relocate to an area away from the site of the suspicious item.
– Take essential belongings, like cell phones, keys, purse, etc. with you in case return to your office is delayed.
– Contact University Police emergency line at (817) 735-2600 or extension 2600 from a campus phone.
– Contact the Federal Protective Service immediately at 1-877-437-7411.
– Leave and close the door to the space containing the suspicious letter or package, cover the threshold area under the door with a towel or a coat if possible, and section off the area (keep others away).
– To prevent spreading any powder or hazardous substance to your face, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

For more information contact the Environmental Health and Safety Office at