Suspicious Mail

East Tennessee State University receives numerous packages and mailings every day. Employees, students, and other customers who receive suspicious mail should immediately contact East Tennessee State University Public Safety (423-439-4480 or 911).

When encountering a suspicious package or letter, the best protection for you is your personal knowledge and actions. You are the only one with the ability to identify a package or letter that is unlike mail you ordinarily receive. Becoming familiar with the following procedures will ensure proper handling of suspicious mailings:

If you identify a suspicious letter or package, (i.e. obvious contamination or specific written threats):

  • Do not open
  • Avoid further handling and isolate item as best possible
  • Evacuate the area, close the room and prevent further access
  • Anyone who made contact should wash their hands and face immediately with soap and water
  • Call East Tennessee State University Public Safety (423-439-4480 or 911) and follow their instructions while waiting for their arrival.
  • Turn off any fans, window air conditioners and/or small area heaters

Be aware of letters or packages that have suspicious traits. Several Suspicious traits to consider are:

  • Envelopes/Parcels sealed with excessive amounts of tape
  • Handwritten or poorly typed addresses you do not recognize- especially those in hand printed block lettering
  • Incorrect or non-existent departments or position titles
  • Misspelling of common words
  • Powders, oily stains, discolorations or strange odors
  • Unusual or unverifiable return addresses
  • Protruding wires, strange odors or stains.
  • Restrictive endorsements such as “Personal”, “Confidential” or “Addressee Only”
  • Mail that is inconsistent with the types of mail normally received
  • The United States Postal Inspection Department may be called by ETSU-PS to assist in the investigation and assessment of the level of threat.

The United States Postal Service has increased security procedures at all of their facilities. For additional information, refer to the Suspicious Mail and Safe Mail Handling fact-sheets from both the USPS and the Department of Homeland Security. Mail Center managers may want to post these guidelines for their employees .