Mail security is a highly important subject, and keeping on-top of crime within the world of mail, transport and logistics is a high priority for all mail service providers, such as the Royal Mail, USPS and FedEx. From mail fraud to drugs trafficking, theft and tampering, ensuring that mail is safe and secure, and that criminals are caught using mail services to transport illegal items is crucial, and this article shall cover these issues and the solutions for postage security, highlighting mail drug trafficking and mail fraud.
You might not think that mailing drugs is an obvious choice for drug smugglers, but it is surprisingly common. Other methods have been more popular in the past, such as people hiding drugs in suitcases and going across boarders themselves or by using airlines or personal planes, but in certain cases mail trafficking has been increasing. For example, as security measures and patrols have increased along the Mexican/US border, smugglers are beginning to use mail more often. In 2009 over 40,000 pounds of marijuana was intercepted which has been similar since, and the amounts of intercepted cocaine have been increasing.
Unfortunately, international courier companies like FedEx and UPS are tight-lipped about the methods they use to identify suspicious packages, as this helps them stay ahead of new methods of concealment. However, it is known that for international shipment, scanners, x-ray machines and sniffer dogs are used to detect drugs, bombs, and other illegal contraband. By law, a warrant needs to be obtained to search a package for USPS, which means there must be adequate suspicion before a warrant is granted. Commonly reported methods of concealment for cannabis include tight wrapping, with the plastic covered in grease or detergent. This helps to conceal the pungent cannabis smell, but it is an obvious sign which companies readily pick-up on.
There are still gaps in the system however, and many packages still make it through security and customs, and it is known that little is done to prevent interstate drug mailing.
Mail Fraud, Vandalism and Theft
It is not very difficult to be able to send mail out to members of the public anonymously, and this means that many criminals have the opportunity to send fraudulent mail, such as scams involving fake charities, get-rich-quick schemes, prize draws and lotteries, land sales, inheritances, organization sign-ups and so on. It is a shame that it is very difficult for mail service providers to stop such mail from being distributed, and usually the best course of action is to make the public as aware and informed as possible. In the UK, Action Fraud is a fraud reporting centre which provides information, and support for victims of fraud. In the US, the Postal Inspection Service helps to provide information and support also. It becomes much easier to catch perpetrators when these departments are well informed, so it is important for anyone who has been sent suspicious mail to get in contact.
For cases of vandalism and theft, the perpetrators are usually employees within the couriers themselves. Couriers have a stringent applicant procedure to ensure against this, though if theft or vandalism does occur to mail, then filing a complaint is the best option.