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Letter and Parcel Bomb Recognition

Mail bombs have been contained in letters, books, and parcels of varying sizes, shapes, and colors. Following is a list of possible indications of suspicious mail.

  • Letters feel rigid, appear uneven or lopsided, or are bulkier than normal.
  • Oil stains may be present on the wrapper.
  • Use of excessive amount of postage.
  • The sender is unknown.
  • No return address.
  • Unusual restricted endorsements such as "Personal", "Private", "to be only opened by..."
  • The addressee normally does not receive personal mail at the office, or the package was unexpected.
  • Name and/or title of addressee are not accurate, or a title is listed but no name.
  • Address is prepared to insure anonymity of sender (i.e., homemade labels, cut and paste lettering).
  • Mailing emits a peculiar odor.
  • Mail appears to have been disassemble, reglued, or excessively secured.
  • Handwriting appears distorted or foreign.
  • Protruding wires, tinfoil, or string are present.
  • Pressure or resistance is noted when removing the contents.
  • Outer container shape is irregular or asymmetric or has soft spots or bulges.
  • Wrapping exhibits previous use such as traces of glue, mailing labels, return addresses or tape.
  • Several combinations of tape are used to secure the parcel.
  • Unprofessionally wrapped parcel is endorsed "Fragile-Handle with Care" or "Rush-Do not Delay."
  • Package makes a buzzing or ticking noise.
  • Contents of parcel make a sloshing sound.
  • Mailing is postmarked from a place to which you have no connection.

If you suspect a mailing is dangerous and are unable to verify the contents:

  • Do not open the article.
  • Isolate the mailing and secure the immediate area.
  • Do not put in water or a confined space such as a desk drawer or filing cabinet.
  • If possible, open windows in the immediate area to assist in venting potential explosive gases.
  • Contact Security immediately.  

EMERGENCY: x5000 or (626) 395-5000