Is It Illegal to Put Something in Someone’s Mailbox

Putting something in someone’s mailbox might sound like a friendly gesture but, in some instances you could actually be going against the Federal government which is why, it is always wise to do a little bit of research before placing an item in your neighbor’s or someone else’s mailbox.

Table of Contents

Is it illegal to put something in someone’s mailbox?

Yes it is illegal to put something in someone’s mailbox.  The only people who are allowed to put or take something in someone’s mailbox are the postal employees and the mailbox owners. Putting something in someone’s mailbox is actually regarded as a crime in the United States which could get you in serious trouble.

Why is it illegal to put something in someone’s mailbox?

The reason why it is illegal to put something in someone mailbox is because the mailbox belongs to the federal government. Therefore, they are allowed to make rules and regulations pertaining to how mail boxes should be used. That being said, the United States federal government clearly forbids using mailboxes for purposes other than receiving mail from the post office meaning that you cannot place mail in your neighbors mailbox. Although mailboxes are mounted on private property and home owners pay for them, they are still regarded as federal property. So since the United States postal services prohibit people from touching their neighbor’s mailboxes you should desist from doing it.  The reason why mailboxes are government property in the United States is because they wanted to make it easier for them take legal action on people who commit postal crimes like mailbox vandalism as well as theft.

NB: Only postal employees are authorised to place mail in mailboxes.

What should I do if I want to put something in my neighbor’s mailbox?

If you are someone who is very shy about handing a letter directly to your neighbor then you have to go through the proper postage process.  Alternatively you can put the letter on their doorstep, however there are many risks associated with this action. Firstly, there is a chance that your neighbor might not see it or it might get blown away by the wind. If your neighbor has kids there is a chance that the kids will vandalise the letter before an adult sees it.

Is it a crime to place mailers in mailboxes?

Unfortunately it is a crime to place mailers in mailboxes. The federal governments prohibits people from putting no postage mailers in mailboxes. In the United stated it is treated as tempering with the United States Postal services and you will be fined for that. Also avoid hanging mailers outside your mailbox. This is because you cannot market other material that was not sent through the United States Postal Service.

What to do with a letter that has been delivered to the wrong address.

If you discover that your neighbor’s letter was delivered to your address the best option would be to handover the mail to your neighbor and walkaway. However, you need to ensure that you haven’t opened the mail or else you could get into big trouble. The other option would be to put it back into your mailbox so that the delivery guy can pick it up and post it to the correct address.  Avoid placing the mail directly in your neighbors mailbox or else it could be misinterpreted as theft or vandalism.

What to do with wrong mail delivered to your address

If you are having a challenge of receiving wrong mail you can always put the mail into the mailbox and then write a friendly note to the postal office indicating the problem that you keep facing. Also indicate that you would greatly appreciate it if they stopped sending the wrong letters to your house. Remember to keep a copy of the written letter just in case nothing changes.

Can I get my mail out of someone’s mailbox?

No you cannot get your mail out of someone else’s mailbox. This is illegal and you can get fined for that. Remember the mailbox belongs to the Federal authority and the only people that have access to it are the postal service employees and the owner of that mailbox.  So if you do not want to get yourself into trouble you can always ask the owner and they will take it out for you.

Illegal postal activities

Mailbox vandalism

This is also another illegal postal activity that you need to be cognisant of. If you have an accident and run into a mailbox it is considered vandalism and you will be fined heavily for that.  If you also dent or put any contents that harm the mailbox it is also considered as vandalism. So you need to be careful about what you put inside a mailbox.

Mail tempering

If you steal or destroy your neighbor’s mail it is treated as mail tempering and you will be fined for that.  Therefore, it is advisable to stay away from peoples mailboxes in order to avoid such misfortunes.

Can you go to jail for putting something in someone’s mailbox

Yes you can go to jail for putting something in someone’s mailbox. Remember that the mailbox is Federal property and you have no right of touching it. If you are lucky enough not to go to jail you might be fined heavily.  Therefore, always desist from touching people’s mailbox. Also desist from tempering with peoples letters even if they have been sent to the wrong address as it is a punishable cause which might result in you going to jail.


The U.S postal services is very strict when it comes to how mail should be handled. Therefore in order to be on the right side of the law you should avoid touching peoples mailboxes.  Remember that only postal service employees are allowed to touch mailboxes and if you have mail that you want to send which is sitting in your mailbox, make sure that it has its postage fee paid in full or you could get in trouble.