USPS Holidays

Tips from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service

Browse Stories
Article promotion image

Keeping your mail and packages safe

It seems like this year flew by in a haze of masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing. Our work, school and home lives collided in ways they never did before. Everything changed. That is, everything except the mission of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Every day, rain or shine, COVID-19 or not, the Inspection Service works to protect your mail, USPS employees and USPS facilities. We’re still investigating crimes, keeping the mail safe and educating the public on scams and schemes. If you haven’t already, I recommend checking out our website to learn more about the Inspection Service and how you can identify and avoid scammers.

Protecting your mail every day

As we head into the holidays, many of our traditional celebrations and gatherings might be a little different than in past years. With social distancing still an important piece of our lives, most of us will not be visiting or traveling as much as usual. This means more of you will rely on the U.S. Mail to share gifts, personal greetings, treats and more. It’s just as important to us as it is to you that these items reach their destinations safely. We’ll continue to protect the mail each and every day, but we could use your help to keep your mail and packages safe.

Here are a few tips to consider this holiday season:

Don’t leave your delivered mail and packages unattended. You wouldn’t leave important items sitting on the front seat of your unlocked car overnight. So, please don’t leave your mail and packages sitting in mailboxes or on front porches for any length of time.

Going out of town? Hold your mail at your local Post Office.You can sign up for Hold Mail service on if you plan to be away from home or you know you won’t be able to check your mail for a few days. Your letters and packages will be held securely at your Post Office until you pick them up or request they be delivered to your home.

Plan ahead. Ship using Hold for Pickup. If you’re sending gifts or other important items, you can choose the Hold for Pickup option on The packages will be safely held at the recipient’s local Post Office until they can pick them up. If you are expecting a package, you can redirect it to your local Post Office by selecting Hold for Pickup using Intercept a Package under Track & Manage on

Customize the delivery. If you are expecting something you know will not fit in your mailbox and you don’t think you will be home to receive it, you can authorize the carrier to leave it in a specified location. Visit, enter the tracking number in Track a Package, and select Delivery Instructions.

Secure the shipment using USPS Special Services. Signature Confirmation helps ensure the package ends up in the right hands by requiring a first initial and last name at the time of delivery. Please note, signatures are not required during the pandemic. More information can be found on our website.

For your most valuable packages, you can opt for Registered Mail service. Registered Mail receives special handling from the time it’s mailed until the time it’s delivered, with documentation every step of the way.

Monitor your front door. If you have a home security camera system, make sure it captures 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. Video surveillance goes a long way in preventing crimes and catching bad guys.

For more great tips you can use not just during the holidays, but all year long, visit our website: You can also receive great information and tips by following the Inspection Service on our social media channels:

Stay safe and have a wonderful holiday season!