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Handling Suspicious Mail

Recent national events have raised concern about how to recognize and handle suspicious mail or packages.

We strongly recommend you use the following guidelines:

An examination of packages or letters prior to opening is a prudent course of action.

WHAT IS SUSPICIOUS? Typical characteristics:

  • Mail from someone unfamiliar to you. Know your sender.
  • Has no return address, or one that cannot be verified as legitimate.
  • Has unusual weight, is lopsided, is oddly shaped, and is oddly sealed.
  • Has strange odors or stains.
  • May be marked “Rush,” “Personal,” “Confidential,” etc.
  • Shows a city or postmark that does not match the return address.
  • If you think it is suspicious, treat it as suspicious.
UNOPENED MAIL THAT APPEARS TO BE SUSPICIOUS:
  • DO NOT OPEN IT.
  • Leave the package or letter where it is. Do not pass the letter or package to others. Call Public Safety immediately at ext. 6611. Off-campus, dial 911. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Wait nearby for the Public Safety officer.
  • The Public Safety officer will decide what further precautionary steps are to be taken, if any.
IF YOU HAVE OPENED SOME MAIL AND FOUND THAT IT CONTAINS AN UNKNOWN SUBSTANCE:
  • Do not try to clean up the contents (powder).
  • Cover the spilled contents immediately with anything (e.g., clothing, paper, trash can, etc.). Do not remove this cover.
  • Leave the room and close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering. Try to isolate yourself.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any powder to your face. Do not touch eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Call Public Safety immediately at ext. 6611. Off-campus, dial 911. Wait nearby.
  • You will receive immediate directions and help.
  • Remain calm. Do not panic.
The Department of Public Safety will coordinate with local law enforcement and fire officials.

New York state guidelines: Mail Handling Protocols.

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