Prohibited Mail Fraud

Illegal Importation of Ivory

What You Can and Can't Mail

  1. Hazardous and dangerous items are not meant to be mailed.
  2. Check with your local Post Office if you're not sure about mailing an item.
  3. If you recieve something suspicious in the mail, contact us.

Scheme Information

Prohibited Mailings

Prohibited Mail

Turtles are non-mailable. Mailing any reptile is prohibited mail and will not be accepted for transportation.


Prohibited Mail

Non-mailable animals discovered in the mailstream must be reported. Additionally, the mailer and the Post Office of mailing must be notified by a Postal Inspector to prevent future shipments from being incorrectly accepted for mailing.


Prohibited Mail

The Postal Inspection Service has primary investigative jurisdiction for violation of these sections as they relate to the mail and Postal Service property.


The mailing of a rare and exotic item from an endangered species is prohibited by law. Harvesting an elephant tusk and illegally importing it violates the Endangered Species Act. And when it's sent through the mail, it falls into a category of what is called a Prohibited Mailing.

There are all kinds of things that can't be sent through the mail because they are hazardous; dangerous poisons, explosives, flammable materials, mail bombs, and anything that may injure or kill, just to name a few. But there are other items that are illegal to mail, such as child pornography, narcotics, extortion letters, threats and all poisonous animals, insects, and reptiles. Still other non-mailable items include alcohol and switchblade knives.

Postal Inspectors are specially trained and equipped to investigate these Dangerous Mailings. They respond to reports of dangerous and suspicious items, protecting postal employees and consumers from the threats. Then they track down the person responsible for the mailing.

Mailing such injurious or prohibited items is a serious federal crime, with prison sentences ranging from one to 20 years, and life imprisonment or the death penalty if the mailing results in a death.

If mail was used in a crime, even if the crime began on the Internet, phone, or in person, report it to Postal Inspectors at 877-876-2455, or at postalinspectors.uspis.gov.