Threatening Letters and Cyberbullying

What should you do?

  1. Report any threats that come through the mail to Postal Inspectors.
  2. Threatening a person's reputation, blackmail or extortion through the mail are federal crimes.
  3. Threats or bullying that comes through social media should be reported to local authorities

Scheme Information

Threatening Letter Scam

Threatening letters can destroy a person's reputation, involve blackmail, or could be a hoax meant to scare the recipient.

Threatening Letter Scam

Social media is now being used to intimidate the viewer through cyber bullying.

Threatening Letter Scam

Report cyber bullying to your parents, teachers or other trusted adults.

It's a serious federal crime to use the mail to threaten a person. It’s one of more than 200 postal crimes that Postal Inspectors investigate. These mailings may threaten a person's reputation or involve blackmail or extortion. Or it may be a direct act of coercion where the action is proposed to elicit a negative or fearful response. Threats are communicated attempts to inflict harm, fear, or some form of loss on another individual.

Postal Inspectors investigate extortion and blackmail when demands for ransoms or rewards are sent through the U.S. Mail. Inspectors also strictly enforce laws prohibiting mail that contains threats of kidnapping, physical injury, or injury to the property or reputations of others.

The United States defines and classifies threats based on how they are delivered and the likelihood that they will be acted upon. For instance, Federal law criminalizes specific true threats that are transmitted via the U.S. mail or in interstate commerce.

Or the mailing might be a hoax meant to scare the recipient. Either way, report such mailings to Postal Inspectors and keep the letters as evidence. Fortunately, these mailed threats are not frequent occurrences. But there's a newer version of threats that come through social media, online or by text.

It's called Cyberbullying. Some states criminalize cyber-bullying, which is any action transmitted through a computer or cell phone that elicits a harmful action. And it can be devastating if you are the target. No one wants to be on the receiving end of this, but we can only help if you let someone know it's going on. Tell someone if you or anyone you know is being bullied -- online or in person. No one should ever have to endure a bully. Don't let it happen to you. Report Cyberbullying.