Mail tampering, whether the result of nosy neighbors, possible stalkers or curious mail sorters or mail carriers, is a federal offensive. Getting your mail delivered to an apartment sometimes increases your risk of having your mail in an easily accessible location before you’re able to get to it. Look for any of these signs if you suspect that your mail has been tampered with:
1 – Torn or Opened Envelopes
The most obvious sign of mail tampering is a torn or opened envelope. Everyone gets a torn or opened envelope from time to time, as the electronic mail sorting process does lend letters, particularly heavier envelopes, to being occasionally torn. However, you should be concerned if:
- This is a regular occurrence. Unless you get more than your share of heavy envelopes, you should not seen torn or opened envelopes more than a couple times a month at the maximum.
- The torn or opened letter may have contained money or confidential information. Some crimes performed by either mail sorters, mail carriers or neighbors are to open holiday or birthday cards in the hopes of getting cash or gift cards. If you’re expecting cash or gift cards (always advise friends and family to use checks or money orders, if possible) and it’s not there, it’s likely it was stolen. Likewise, if your torn or opened mail has a new credit card, a PIN number or other confidential financial information, call your financial institution to ask if you can change the number to protect your finances.
- The letter is extremely torn and you do not get a notice from the USPS. If an electronic sorting machine really ripped your letter, you should receive it in a plastic bag from the USPS explaining that the incident happened during processing.
2 – Evidence of Resealing
A worrisome sign of mail tampering is when you receive sealed envelopes that have evidence of resealing, as you can’t blame the mistake on a mail sorting error. (The USPS will not reseal envelopes they accidentally tear.) If you notice that a fringe around the seal of the envelope looks like it was once torn off or the glue on the envelope seems a bit excessive, see if you can contact whoever sent the mail to determine if he or she resealed it before it was sent.
3 – Wrinkled Mail on a Sunny Day
Although not hard evidence, you may suspect mail tampering if you tend to get a lot of mail that’s wrinkled even when there’s no precipitation outside. Some people may hold envelopes up over a pot of steaming hot water to loosen the seal on the envelope without tearing it. Once they have looked at the mail, they then reseal it.
If you suspect mail tampering, report the crime to your landlord, the local postmaster general or police, depending on whom you think is doing the tampering. A landlord may be able to send out a notice that will discourage neighbors from continuing to rummage through other people’s mail and the local postmaster general may be able to investigate whether or not your mail sorters or mail carriers are responsible. If these options don’t work, you can report the incidents to the police, as long as you keep evidence of the crime.