Delivery, holiday delivery, holiday shipping, USPS Holidays, USPS Safety

Securing Your Holiday Mail

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U.S. Postal Inspector, Michael Martel

U.S. Postal Inspector, Michael Martel

Securing Your Holiday Mail

Helpful holiday tips to deter mail thieves and scammers

The holidays are a hectic time of year, and with billions of letters and packages flowing through the mailstream, we, unfortunately, see more mail theft and scams. Additionally, with the rise in crime nationally, thieves have become more brazen and, at times, more violent, robbing letter carriers of mailbox keys in their quest to obtain checks they can alter and attempt to cash.

We have taken bold steps to curb this trend with our Project Safe Delivery initiative. In the past few months alone, we have made more than 600 arrests for robberies of letter carriers and mail theft nationwide.

These real, tangible wins are just the beginning of a broader strategy to relentlessly pursue these criminals.

Our effectiveness in this goal is magnified when customers take simple steps to dissuade and stop those who would commit mail-related crimes.

First, understand that mail and packages left unattended for any length of time are a prime target. In the best case, we are all at home when the delivery comes, but that’s unrealistic for many of us. Take the initiative and ask a trusted neighbor who may be home to keep an eye out for you.

At the very least, don’t leave anything in your mailbox overnight. USPS can help you avoid doing this. Through, customers can access the USPS Hold for Pickup service, which keeps eligible mail and packages at a designated Post Office for you to pick up at a time that is right for you. You can also use customized services to authorize your letter carrier to leave mail or packages with a tracking number in a specified location. For your deliveries of value, you always have the safety and security of USPS Special Services and Registered Mail.

If you are away for the holidays — and we recommend this for any time you travel — USPS Hold Mail gives you peace of mind, knowing that you have eliminated the opportunity and incentive that drives many mail thieves.

The holidays bring out scammers, too. These criminals are active year-round, but during the festive season, it helps to be extra vigilant about those claiming to be from USPS. Two of the most common scams are unsolicited phishing emails and smishing texts or phone calls.

The typical scam is the same, even if the technology used to target you differs: You’ll receive a notice indicating that a USPS delivery requires your response. If you’ve never signed up for a USPS alert, do not click on that link! Plain and simple. If you have signed up for a USPS alert, know that we never send links in texts asking for information or charging additional fees. If an email or text asks for personally identifiable information, forms of payment or any sensitive information, again, that email is not from USPS.

Charity scams are also prevalent this time of year, as thieves take advantage of the season of goodwill. Some scammers make their outreach look very persuasive, so please be vigilant. Look carefully at their name or website URL, as they often closely resemble those of a legitimate charity. If you do donate to a cause, make the check payable to the organization and never to an individual.

The Postal Inspection Service is here to help our customers. We have created a series of informative public service announcements that will guide you through the best ways to avoid being a victim of mail crime. To learn about these announcements and more, visit Holiday 2023 — United States Postal Inspection Service. Together, we can make it more difficult and less rewarding for mail thieves and scammers.

Stay safe and have a wonderful holiday season.


Michael Martel

U.S. Postal Inspector