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Suspicious Mail Information

Loyola's Printing and Mail Services personnel follow the U.S. Postal Service guidelines with regard to handling mail. If a suspicious package or envelope is spotted in the mailroom by mailroom personnel, the item is isolated and Campus Police is notified at 410-617-5911.

It is possible that a suspicious piece of mail or a package may be delivered directly to a department by a delivery service, or not be noticed by Printing and Mail Services during sorting processes. It is critical that all individuals that handle mail be diligent – what does not look suspicious to Printing and Mail Services might be suspicious to a person in the receiving department.

If you receive a suspicious letter or package:

  1. Do not try to open the package. If there is spilled material, do not try to clean it up and do not smell, touch or taste the material.
  2. Do not shake or bump the package or letter.
  3. Isolate the package, placing it in a sealable plastic bag, if available.
  4. Calmly alert others in the immediate area and leave the area, closing the door behind you.
  5. Wash hands and exposed skin vigorously with soap and flowing water for at least 20 seconds. Antibacterial soaps that do not require water are not effective for removing anthrax or other threatening materials.
  6. Call Campus Police at 410-617-5911 and give them your exact location. 
  7. Wait for Campus Police to respond. Do not leave the building unless instructed to do so by Campus Police Personnel.

Identifying Suspicious Packages and Envelopes

Some characteristics of suspicious packages and envelopes include the following:

  • Inappropriate or unusual labeling
  • Excessive postage
  • Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
  • Misspellings of common words
  • Strange return address or no return address 
  • Incorrect titles or title without a name
  • Not addressed to a specific person
  • Marked with restrictions, such as “Personal,” “Confidential,” or “Do not x-ray”
  • Marked with any threatening language
  • Postmarked from a city or state that does not match the return address


  • Powdery substance felt through or appearing on the package or envelope
  • Oily stains, discolorations, or odor
  • Lopsided or uneven envelope
  • Excessive packaging material such as masking tape, string, etc.

Other suspicious signs

Excessive weight:

  • Ticking sound
  • Protruding wires or aluminum foil

If a package or envelope appears suspicious, do not open it.

Pranks and Hoaxes

Pranks or hoaxes involving false threats of agents of terror, including Anthrax or Ricin, disrupt lives; create serious safety concerns, and tax valuable University and community resources. They create illegitimate alarm in a time of legitimate concern. The University and law enforcement authorities take all such actions very seriously. The University has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy and will aggressively investigate any such incidents.  Any individual found responsible for such acts will be subject to University disciplinary action, up to and including separation from the University, and prosecution under State and Federal law.

For More Information

Contact Campus Police at 410-617-5010.

FBI Suspicious Mail Advisory (PDF)
CDC Information about Anthrax
CDC Information about Ricin