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Does USPS Can Scan Packages

By David Krug 4 minute read

In addition to providing the quickest delivery possible for an organization of its size and scale, the United States Postal Service is required to exercise extreme caution when it comes to security.

The Postal Service must work hard to prevent forbidden items like alcohol, guns, and narcotics out of its system. It begs the question: Does the US Postal Service scan packages? If you’d like to know the answer, I’ve got it.

Will USPS Scan Packages In 2022?

USPS scans some shipments, but on the whole it’s a wholly unplanned operation. Occasionally, a suspect shipment may be flagged by a postal worker and subsequently singled out. Packages that go to and from big cities are more likely to be inspected.

Keep reading to find out why the US Postal Service (USPS) scans or x-rays shipments, what they scan for, what makes a package suspect, and if USPS can truly open packages.

Why Does USPS Scan Packages?

Criminals have sought to utilize the Postal Service for nefarious purposes for as long as it has existed. Non-criminals, on the other hand, may accidentally communicate items that might be harmful to other people.

Consequently, in order to protect both the public and individual health and safety, the USPS must scan or x-ray parcels. When you think about it, imagine if individuals were shipping loaded guns or badly packed cases of glass alcohol bottles every day.

Even though the United States Postal Service’s legislative limitations discourage most criminals, scanning provides an extra degree of protection. U.S. Postal Inspection Service officers are setting the standard for package inspection. This team of sleuths is well-versed in everything from drug trafficking and postal fraud to spoofing and other forms of identity theft and money laundering.

Does USPS Scan Packages For Drugs?

A scan of the packaging is likely if the medications are wrapped suspiciously. Even in decriminalized jurisdictions, attempting to send narcotics like heroin, marijuana, or prescription medications like morphine is a felony.

No matter how many antibiotics or medicines you need, you cannot mail them without the right authorization (as a prescription company does). The rattling of pills in a bottle may be heard by any postal worker, and it’s enough to raise a red flag.

In a Quora discussion, a postal worker reported that he had a box of marijuana split open while he was processing it. You can over-tape the box, which looks suspicious, or you can change the above. Doing so isn’t worth it.

Will USPS Know If I Ship Alcohol?

You can’t rely on the USPS to catch you if you’re shipping booze, but you can’t rely on them to let you get away with it either. When shipping glass bottles, the sound might be a red flag for a postal worker.

Breakage or spilling might make your offense more obvious if they occur (and you are immediately guilty of a felony). Let’s imagine, on the other hand, that you are transporting anything other than alcohol in a box that was previously used to convey alcohol.

In order for the USPS to not flag your package, you must cover all the indications of alcohol on the packaging – words like “wine” or “vodka,” and any pictures like wine glasses. Let’s imagine, though, that you actually wish to send booze. FedEx and UPS are two options to consider.

To send alcohol, both shipping companies demand additional registration, although they’ll accept it.

Is it Possible to Have USPS Write “Do Not X-Ray” on Your Package?

Putting “Do Not X-Ray” on your box may help prevent it from being scanned, but it will likely have the opposite effect. Actually, USPS is more likely to classify your item as suspicious and X-ray the box faster if it is flagged as such by you.

In order to mail something by USPS, it is necessary to subject it to X-Raying/scanning.
Shipping something legal but wanting to remain anonymous? Keep it as basic and unassuming as possible. The only method to guarantee that your item will not be scanned by the USPS is to personally deliver it to the recipient’s front door.

What Makes A Package Suspicious To USPS?

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has a useful list of things to look out for. The following is a quick rundown of everything you’ll find here:

  • Recipient addresses that are handwritten but no return addresses are included in packages
  • “Do Not X-Ray” or “Confidential” marked packages should not be scanned.
  • Packages that are disproportionately weighty for their size
  • Packaging that has been savagely taped.
  • Return address packages that have been mailed from a different zip code

Visit the USPS website for a complete list of suspected items.

Is USPS Allowed To Open Packages?

First-Class mail and packages can only be opened by the USPS with a court order. Probable cause can be established by X-raying (e.g., anything that looks like a weapon or an open alcohol bottle is discovered during the scan), and a search warrant is then obtained.

The Fourth Amendment protects only First-Class mail, as stated in this FAQ document from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. There is no need for a warrant to read mail in other classes since they “do not include personal correspondence.”

Bottom Line

For packages that seem suspicious or are in a metropolitan area, the USPS may randomly scan them. A crime for shipping forbidden things, First-Class mail isn’t worth the Fourth Amendment’s protection, which protects First-Class mail from being inspected without warrant.

David Krug

Author