Recognizing a suspicious package

  • A suspicious package can arrive from multiple sources including the United States Postal Service, express couriers such as UPS or Fed Ex, local messenger/courier services, inter-office/organizational mail, or hand delivery.

Indicators that may make a package suspicious

  • Missing, incorrect or an undefined destination address.
  • Inappropriate or unusual labeling, with misspelled words.
  • Excessive postage, no postage or a postmark that does not match the return address or lacks a return address.
  • Threatening or inappropriate language on the outside of package.
  • Unexpected mail from a foreign country.
  • Suspicious or excessive markings, such as “personal”, “confidential”, or “do not x-ray”.
  • Any letters or packages arriving before or after a phone call from an unknown person asking if the item was received.

Physical characteristics of a suspicious piece of mail or package

  • Abnormal shape or discoloration.
  • Excessive amount of securing material used, such as masking tape or string.
  • Signs of an unknown powdery substance or liquid-type substance leaking through.
  • Strange odors or unusual noise from within.
  • Protruding wires, aluminum foil or metallic contents.
  • Irregular shape, soft spots, bulges or sloshing sounds.

Handling a suspicious package

If you come in contact with a package you deem suspicious:

  • Do not move, open or disturb the item.
  • Move people away from suspicious items and leave the area. Gently close the door behind you.
  • Avoid using your cell phone in the immediate area of the package. Although unlikely, it is possible a cell phone can trigger an improvised explosive device to detonate.
  • If the threat appears to pose an immediate and serious danger to the safety of you and others, call 911. If the threat could be carried out, although it may not appear entirely realistic, alert others nearby and call Public Safety immediately (212-998- 2222) from a safe location.
  • Take your personal property with you and notify your supervisor or Resident Assistant (RA) of your safe location.
  • Wash your hands if you came in contact with the package.