According to Harvard University Police, a suspicious package can be characterized as any package that incites alarm in the recipient for any reason. Typically, the suspicion is due to something related to the way in which the package appears or is labeled. Although instances of harm resulting from dangerous packages are extremely rare, it is always best to report suspicious packages to the proper authorities.
Some suspicious indicators include, but are not limited to, incorrect labeling, lack of return address or a return address that is obviously bogus, gross misspelling on the label and lack of postage. Aside from these and other labeling problems, physical warning signs include powders and oily stains. Beware if the package seems awkward in shape or lopsided. Additionally, packages that emit strange sounds or are wrapped in gaudy, enticing tape or that carry instructions insisting the recipient open immediately are suspect. Of course, any package that emits a ticking sound should be reported immediately. People should always be leery of strange packages that arrive from an entity unknown to the recipient.
Those who receive a distressing package are urged to leave it unopened and prevent anyone else but the proper authorities from further handling it. After clearing the area around the package of nearby people and calling local police, recipients are instructed to thoroughly wash their hands and to wait for authorities to arrive.