Are you wondering if it is illegal to put something in a mailbox? We intend to answer that question for you in this article. Various countries have different restrictions regarding mailboxes. Even though you are paying for your mailbox, the U.S. Postal Services have specific rules which you need to follow.
Generally, putting something in a mailbox is not illegal. If it’s your mailbox and you have paid for the item you are putting in, you are not doing anything wrong. However, if it is not your mailbox, then it is illegal. If you’re placing an item for someone else to pick up other than the postal employee, then it’s illegal.
There are times when people tamper with the mailboxes without their knowledge. Hence, it is pretty essential to be knowledgeable of the different laws and regulations associated with the postal services. In this article, we will discuss if putting something in a mailbox is illegal or not.
Is It Against the Law to Put Something in a Mailbox?
The humble mailbox offers a convenient way to send letters, large envelopes, and small packages to others. However, many aren’t aware that mailboxes are government property. And as such, there are specific rules that must be followed when it comes to using them. Many are also unclear as to whether it’s illegal to put something in a mailbox.
If the mailbox is yours and you have paid the postage for the item you’re putting in it, then it’s perfectly legal. However, if you have not paid the postage, putting an item in your mailbox will be illegal. If you’re placing an item in the mailbox to be picked by someone else, then you’re indulging in unlawful activity. This excludes the postal employee.
If you put something in a mailbox that isn’t yours, you are doing an illegal activity. It is also illegal to put something other than mail in your mailbox. The only individuals allowed to put or take out something from the mailbox are a postal employee and the mailbox’s owner.
To avoid doing something illegal, you should ensure that you do not put anything in someone else’s mailbox. If incorrect mail has reached your mailbox, you shouldn’t go and put the mail yourself in the mailbox. Instead, you should return it to your mailbox, and the postal employees would deliver it themselves.
Who Is the Actual Owner of the Mailbox?
So, you might wonder why it is illegal to put an item in your own mailbox. While you pay for a mailbox mounted on your property, it is still governed by the federal government. The United States government decides and enforces the laws associated with the use of mailboxes.
In simple words, you own the mailbox since it is mounted on your property. However, the United States Postal services make the rules to guide its usage. The mailboxes are considered federal property to protect them from mail tampering or theft. And heavy fines are placed on individuals committing mail tampering, mail theft, or mailbox vandalism.
Is It Against the Law to Put Mailers in Mailboxes?
Most companies use advertising agencies that send their leads mailers through their mailboxes. As per the rules by the United States Postal services, placing mailers in mailboxes is illegal. They cannot be hung outside the mailbox. Putting mailers in the mailbox without postage is also a crime. These actions are considered as mail tampering and can attract a heavy fine.
Most advertising agencies prefer hanging mailers outside the mailbox. This cheaper way of marketing is illegal in the United States. The marketing materials that are mailed through the USPS are considered legal.
There are multiple reasons why putting something in a mailbox, like a mailer, is considered illegal. Placing unsanctioned items into your mailbox can limit the space allotted for legitimate mail. If every marketing agency started adopting this method, the mailbox would be full before any genuine mail could arrive.
Additionally, it is also considered a security threat by the USPS. Only postal employees are authorized to place the mail and remove it from the mailboxes. The postal inspectors in the United States urge residents to report if they receive unauthorized mailers in their mailbox.
How to Report the Unauthorized Use of a Mailbox
The USPS considers the security of its citizens as their topmost priority. If you believe someone is putting something in an unauthorized mailbox, you can file a complaint. By contacting the law enforcement agencies, you can find out whether the said activity is illegal.
It would be helpful to consider putting a locking mechanism on your mailbox to protect your privacy. One can do this by contacting the mailbox’s manufacturer. Before you report criminal activity to the postal service, ensure that you have enough evidence. You should be sure you can identify the person who did this or what they put or stole from your mailbox.
You can surveil the area and note any unusual activities. Additionally, you can take photos of people around your mailbox or notify the police about a suspicious vehicle. This will strengthen your case and make sure that the perpetrator is punished.
Is It Illegal to Put Something in a Public Mailbox?
All the mailboxes, whether public or installed in homes, are considered the property of the United States government. Putting something in a mailbox that does not belong there is illegal. It can be regarded as vandalism or trespassing.
If you don’t have permission from the USPS and are caught in the act, they will press charges against you. These charges can carry a fine and a possible jail time.
Penalty for Putting Something in a Mailbox Which Is Illegal
Putting something in a mailbox without postage is illegal under the Mailbox restriction law. This law is applicable in all the cities, counties, and states of America. When caught in the act, an individual can be fined up to $5,000. Whereas, if an organization is responsible, it can be fined up to $10,000.
If an individual is caught vandalizing the mailbox or a mail truck, he can be fined up to $250,000. They can also face a jail time of up to three years. This also applies to tampering or stealing the mail.
Putting something in a mailbox or taking an item from the mailbox is illegal and a federal crime. You should be mindful of your local and state postal laws your city follows. This would help you understand how to move forward legally in terms of advertising through mailboxes.
Placing mailers or even stickers on your own mailbox can also be considered vandalism by the USPS. Even though you pay for your mailbox, it is still controlled by the United States Postal Services. Hence you should be careful when handling your mails and never play around with others’ mailboxes.