Postal inspectors offer 6 tips to keep holiday packages secure
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the federal law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), is working around the clock to keep the more than 15 billion mail pieces expected to be mailed this holiday season safe. Package senders and recipients can help, too! The Inspection Service advises everyone mailing gifts this season to be aware and alert, and follow the six tips below:
- Don’t leave delivered mail and packages unattended. Just as wallets and purses shouldn’t be left on the front seat of an unlocked car unattended, mail and packages shouldn’t be left uncollected in mailboxes or on front porches for any length of time.
- Going out of town? Hold mail at the local post office. Instead of risking leaving a package unattended for an extended period of time, customers planning on being away from home for a few days are encouraged to take advantage of the USPS Hold Mail service located on USPS.com. Letters and packages will be held securely at the local post office until the customer returns.
- Plan ahead. Ship using Hold for Pickup. When shipping packages, customers can choose the Hold for Pickup option, and the recipients can collect the packages at their local post office. For customers receiving packages, they can redirect incoming packages to their local post office by selecting Hold for Pickup using USPS Package Intercept on USPS.com.
- Customize the delivery. If the package doesn’t fit in the mailbox and the customer won’t be home to receive it, the receiving customer can provide delivery instructions online and authorize the carrier to leave it in a specified location. Visit usps.com, enter the tracking number and select Delivery Instructions.
- Secure the shipment using USPS Special Services. Signature Confirmation helps ensure the package is placed in the right hands by requiring a signature at the time of delivery. For the most valuable packages, customers can opt for Registered Mail service. A Registered Mail piece receives special handling from the time it’s mailed until it’s delivered, documenting the chain of custody.
- Monitor your front door. If you have a home security camera system and/or doorbell camera, ensure it captures and saves activity at your front door and mailbox. If you catch any mail thieves in the act, save the video and alert your local Postal Inspectors.
Additionally, if you notice an unfamiliar vehicle following a USPS truck or unknown persons loitering around mailboxes, report the activity to your local police department immediately, and then call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455. If you feel that you are a victim of a crime involving the mail, you may submit an online complaint by visiting USPIS.gov and selecting Report at the top of the page.