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Why is it a federal crime to tamper with mail

By Spodek Law Group | March 7, 2023

Protecting Your Mail: Everything You Need to Know About Mail Tampering and Mail Fraud

Have you ever experienced the sinking feeling of realizing that your mail has been tampered with or stolen? The violation of having someone invade your privacy and personal information can be overwhelming, and it is important to understand the laws surrounding this crime. In this article, we will explore mail tampering and mail fraud, the potential consequences of these crimes, how to report it, and how you can take steps to protect your mail.

Understanding Mail Tampering

Mail tampering is a crime that involves any interference with mail intended for someone else. It can include opening, destroying, damaging, or removing mail from a mailbox. In the United States, mail is considered private property, and tampering with someone’s mail is a violation of their expectation of privacy.

Mail Tampering Has Serious Consequences

Mail tampering is a serious crime that can lead to imprisonment, fines, or probation. Under most state statutes, tampering with mail is a misdemeanor, and offenders can face a term of imprisonment of up to a year or more, depending on the circumstances. The violation of one’s privacy can also cause long-lasting emotional trauma.

How to Report Mail Tampering?

If you suspect that someone has been tampering with your mail, the first step is to take action and report it to the authorities. Do not confront the individual, as it can escalate the situation and puts your safety at risk. The United States Postal Inspection Service is a police force that specializes in handling legal issues involving the United States Postal Service, and reporting mail tampering to them is essential.

Additionally, you may want to contact the United States Postal Service to report any missing mail or packages. They will need any tracking numbers you can provide to expedite your case. In the meantime, you may need to consider forwarding your mail and packages to a new address or PO box until the issue is resolved.

Mail Fraud Is a Federal Crime

Mail fraud is another crime related to the postal system that is a federal offense. Unlike mail tampering, mail fraud involves using the United States mail to scheme or unlawfully obtain money or something else of value. This crime can elevate a violation of state law to the federal level if any portion of the crime involved the US postal system.

Mail Fraud Has Serious Consequences

Mail fraud is a severe crime that can result in significant consequences, including imprisonment and fines. Under federal law, anyone who steals, takes, or abstracts mail or any article or thing contained therein, or buys, receives, or conceals any letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail, knowing the same to have been stolen, can be punished by up to 5 years in prison.

Protecting Your Mail

Protecting your mail is crucial to prevent mail tampering or mail fraud from occurring. Here are some tips you can follow to protect your mail:

Use a Locking Mailbox

Using a locking mailbox is an excellent way to prevent unauthorized access to your mail. This is particularly important if you receive sensitive or confidential information via mail.

Avoid Leaving Mail in Your Mailbox Overnight

Avoid leaving mail in your mailbox overnight as it makes it more vulnerable to theft and tampering. Bring it inside every evening to ensure that it is safe.

Track Your Mail

Tracking your mail and packages using the tracking numbers provided by the sender can help you monitor the progress of your mail. Additionally, it allows you to identify any missing or stolen packages.

Report Any Suspicious Activity

If you suspect that someone has tampered with your mail or notice any suspicious activity around your mailbox, report it right away. Reporting any malpractice quickly can help authorities investigate the incident and prevent further tampering or fraud from occurring.


Mail tampering and mail fraud are serious crimes that can have significant consequences. If you suspect that someone has been tampering with your mail, taking action right away is essential. Contacting the United States Postal Inspection Service and the United States Postal Service can help you report the incident, and these organizations will take necessary steps to protect your mail. Taking preventative measures, such as using a locking mailbox and tracking your mail, can also protect your mail. As a nationwide law firm, the Spodek Law Group and Attorney Todd Spodek are here to help protect your privacy and personal information. We specialize in handling legal issues such as these and are always available to help our clients.

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I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

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It was my good fortune to retain Spodek Law Group for representation for my legal needs. From the beginning, communication was prompt and thorough. Todd, Kenneth and Alex were the first people I worked with and they all made me feel comfortable and confident that the team was going to work hard for me. Everything was explained and any concerns...

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After meeting with several law firms, I chose the Spodek Law Group not only for their professionalism and experience, but for the personal attention given to me right from the initial consultation. It is important to recognize how crucial having the right legal team is when faced with potentially life altering events that impact families and the lives of loved...

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