Suspicious Mail

​If you decide that a letter or package is “suspicious” after comparing it to the FBI Advisory Bulletin, take the following steps:

  • Do not handle the mail piece or package suspected of contamination.
  • Isolate the person or people who have been exposed to any suspicious substance.
  • Make sure that the suspicious letter or package is isolated and the immediate area is closed off.
  • Call 911 on a college or campus phone if available. If no college/campus phone is available, use any available phone and dial 972-860-4290.

If a person suddenly experiences respiratory problems and/or blistering of the skin, place them under an emergency shower (found in science labs) and/or a regular shower (using only cold water). Turn the shower on — and leave it on — until first responders arrive.

FBI Advisory: If You Receive a Suspicious Letter or Package

Handle with Care — Don’t Shake or Bump

Isolate and Look for Indicators

  • No return address
  • Restrictive markings (e.g. “Personal”)
  • Possibly mailed from a foreign country
  • Excessive postage
  • Misspelled words
  • Badly typed or written address
  • Addressed to intended recipient by title only or incorrect title
  • Protruding wires
  • Lopsided or uneven
  • Rigid or bulky
  • Strange odor
  • Oily stains, discolorations or crystallization on wrapper
  • Excessive tape or string

Don’t Open, Smell or Taste

Treat as Suspect — Call 911!

If Parcel Is Open and/or a Threat Is Identified

  • For a bomb:
    • Evacuate immediately
    • Call police at 911
    • Contact local FBI
  • For radiological threats:
    • Limit exposure — don’t handle
    • Distance (evacuate area)
    • Shield yourself from object
    • Call police at 911
    • Contact local FBI
  • For biological or chemical threats:
    • Isolate — don’t handle
    • Call police at 911
    • Wash your hands with soap and warm water
    • Contact local FBI


Produced by: Bomb Data Center, Weapons of Mass Destruction Unit