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What to Know about the U.S. Postal Inspection Service

December 21, 2017

While most people are very familiar with the U.S. Postal Service, far fewer individuals know about its security arm and what the Postal Inspection Service really does. That’s why we’re looking at the mail laws that USPIS enforces and the punishments that exist for breaking postal law. If you regularly mail items for business or personal use, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with this organization to prevent legal repercussions.

Mail Laws Enforced by USPIS

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service addresses many different issues for mail consumers, including mail fraud, mail theft, identity theft, mailbox vandalism, return to sender labels, and export issues. A postal inspector with the USPIS may also provide help for victims of mail-related crimes, financial crimes, and child exploitation as a result of unsolicited sexually oriented advertising. If you have been a victim of a mail crime, you can file a complaint with USPIS, as well as report instances of intellectual property theft or look into delivery issues.

USPIS investigations may also cover robberies of postal employees, burglaries of postal facilities, prohibited mailings, revenue investigations, and mail matters that compromise aviation and homeland security. On the USPIS website, you can learn about current crime alerts and scams, such as foreign lottery fraud, charity fraud, fake check scams, and bogus changes of address.

USPIS Enforcement and Punishments

Postal inspectors are federally sworn law enforcement officers who have the authority to make arrests, serve search warrants, and carry firearms. They work throughout the U.S. to enforce the hundreds of mail laws that are in place and also protect the safety of postal service employees and the mail that they deliver.

The main forensic crime lab that the USPIS uses is in Dulles, Virginia and has specific units for questionable documents, fingerprints, physical sciences, and digital evidence. The punishments for committing mail crimes vary greatly on the type of crime committed, how widespread the fraud was, and the financial implications.

How to Use U.S. Mail Safely and Legally

The USPIS has an ununiformed force assigned to certain postal facilities throughout the nation to provide security, escort mail of high value, and perform other protective functions. To prevent being accused of a mail crime by a postal inspector and breaking postal law, it is advised to steer clear of scams, deceptive ads, counterfeit postage, and other people’s mail that you are not authorized to open.

The USPIS is also responsible for making sure postal employees can work in a safe environment. So, even if standing in line at the post office feels excruciating, never make threats or cause a physical or verbal disruption if you want to avoid punishment from this enforcement entity.

Business professionals in many different industries utilize shipping and postal bags to deliver goods efficiently and comply with federal laws. These specialized bags are durable, lightweight, waterproof, and have tamper evident features make sure that packages arrive into the right hands. Tamper evident packaging reduces the risk of mail theft and identify theft for both you and your recipient.

Any suspicions of mail fraud or theft should be directed to USPIS immediately by filing a report online or calling 800-275-8777 to file a report by phone.

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