Mail Theft

While you should properly address chemical, biological, and radiological threats, mail centers are much more likely to experience problems caused by common crimes such as theft. Security is vital to mail center operations large and small.

Lack of security can result in theft of supplies, postage, mail, and any valuable information about your company contained in sensitive mail.

To make your mail center secure and to reduce risks and losses, your company should have policies and procedures for the following:

Losses are charted by the Postal Inspection Service to identify problem areas and assist Inspectors in tracking down thieves. Report suspected mail losses to Postal Inspectors by calling 877-876-2455 or at


Preventing Theft in your Mail Center

Registered Mail

Keep Registered Mail separate from other mail.

Require employees to sign for Registered Mail™ to establish accountability. Use a log to track Certified Mail® and Registered Mail to record the date it’s received, the type of mail, and the Postal Service’s control number. The person receiving the mail must sign and date the log. This provides a reliable tracking system.

Stamp Accountability

Establish adequate controls to identify responsibility for losses that may occur. Never keep postage stamps in unlocked drawers.

Postage Meter Security

Restrict access to postage meters to authorized personnel. Do not allow employees to run personal mail through postage meters as it can result in theft of company funds. You can get an accurate account of postage and its purpose when only authorized employees operate postage meters.

Keep your postage meter locked when not in use. Have a trusted employee maintain a record of meter register readings. This helps detect unauthorized, after-hours use of the meter and helps you obtain a refund if your meter malfunctions.


Avoid paying for business reply, postage due, or other postal costs from petty cash. A petty cash drawer can provide a theft opportunity for dishonest mail center employees.

Advance Deposits

Set up an advance-deposit account with your Post Office. Companies that prefer using petty cash can protect themselves against theft by requiring receipts from the Post Office for postage paid and by checking mail to ensure it balances with receipts.

Use of Authorized Depositories

Don’t leave trays or sacks of mail on a curb next to a full collection box. If this is a problem, contact your postmaster to resolve. This could prevent your mail from being lost or stolen.

Outgoing Mail

Periodically compare outgoing mail against customer order lists. This can detect dishonest employees using their name and address for orders shipped to legitimate customers. This is a difficult crime to detect unless someone reviews outgoing mail. When checking outgoing mail, see if employees are using metered postage for personal mail.

Outside Mail Preparation Services

Postal Inspectors have found some mail preparation service staff pocket fees without entering the material into the mail or have grossly overcharged advertisers for postage. Your local Post Office’s Business Mail Entry Unit uses the PS Form 3600 series to maintain a record of bulk mailings. Any questions related to quantity, costs, and the date of a mailing can be verified by contacting this unit.

Incoming Mail

Clearly label depositories used to receive incoming mail and outgoing mail. Use PS Label 33, Report Mail Theft, Tampering, or Vandalism of this Mailbox (see a sample on page 11), available from your local Post Office or the Postal Inspection Service, to alert employees that material in such receptacles is protected by federal law.

Missent Mail

Have a system to handle misdelivered or missent mail. Immediately return all such mail to the Post Office.