usps oig

Frequently Asked Questions about the USPS OIG



What is misconduct?

Intentional or improper use of Postal Service resources. Examples include misuse of position or authority; or the misuse of resources such as tools, vehicles, or office equipment.


What is confidentiality?

Individuals who contact the Hotline may request confidentiality and ask that their identities not be revealed. However, a complainant's identity may be revealed if it is unavoidable to effectively investigate the alleged matter or as otherwise required by law. The Inspector General Act of 1978 provides that, after receipt of a complaint or information from an employee, the Inspector General shall not disclose that employee's identity without the employee's consent, unless the Inspector General determines such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation. Please note that individuals who contact the Hotline via electronic mail cannot be assured of confidentiality due to the non-secure nature of electronic mail systems. Callers can also request to remain anonymous and not give their name at all.


What is fraud?

Any knowing deception designed to unlawfully deprive the Postal Service of something of value or to secure from the Postal Service for a benefit, privilege, allowance, or consideration to which an individual(s) is not entitled. Such practices include, but are not limited to, the offer, payment, or acceptance of bribes or gratuities; making false statements; submitting false claims; using false weights or measures; falsifying records and books of accounts; arranging for secret profits, kickbacks, or commissions; and conspiring to use any of these devices. The term also includes conflict of interest cases, criminal activity, and the unauthorized disclosure of official information relating to procurement and disposal matters.


What is waste?

The extravagant, careless, or needless expenditure of Postal Service funds, or the consumption of Postal Service property that results from deficient practices, systems, controls, or decisions.


What type of complaints do you take and what do you do with the information once it is given?

Complaints include alleged violations of laws, rules, or regulations; misconduct; waste of funds; abuse of authority; theft of mail by employee or contractor; or danger to public health and safety. Complaints and allegations received by the Hotline are analyzed to identify systemic issues affecting the Postal Service. The OIG considers all Hotline contacts when planning OIG audits and projects. If the complaint or allegation does not fall under the scope of the OIG's jurisdiction, the information may be forwarded to the appropriate authority for their review.


Who can lodge a complaint?

The Hotline receives complaints from employees, contractors, customers, and the general public.


Why should I provide my name?

The USPS OIG relies on concerned employees and citizens to provide us with information regarding alleged waste, fraud, and misconduct in the USPS. We realize that you may wish to remain anonymous in submitting an allegation to us. However, your information is most useful to us if we can contact you by telephone or mail for additional information or, in some cases, if we can interview you personally. Therefore, we encourage you to identify yourself when you contact us.


What can I expect when I call the hotline?

You can expect to hear a number of options that will assist you in determining where your concerns would be addressed. After listening to all options, if you find you need to speak with an analyst, your call will be routed to a Hotline Program Analyst who will obtain information regarding your concern. In many cases the analyst will be able to determine the appropriate office that can address your concerns and will be able to direct you to that office. However, if the analyst determines that the issue warrants further review by the OIG, you will be interviewed to obtain information to properly evaluate your complaint.


How do I file a complaint?

The preferred method of communicating a complaint is via the Internet. Complaints can also be received at any time via e-mail and voicemail. The OIG's toll-free Hotline number, 1-888-USPS-OIG (1-888-877-7644), is live from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except federal holidays). To increase efficiency and postal customer service satisfaction, the OIG uses a caller-directed menu that allows callers to route inquiries to the appropriate office for response.


What information should I include in my complaint?

Please make sure that you provide your name, address and telephone number if you are not going to remain anonymous. If you wish to remain anonymous, please do not give any information that could identify you as the complainant.

If the subject is a postal employee, please provide the employee's name, title, tour of duty, and the name and address of the postal facility where the employee works.

  • Who was involved?
  • Where did the incident occur?
  • When did it happen?
  • Is it still ongoing?
  • How or how much?
  • How did you become aware of the problem/ Do you have first hand knowledge of the event?
  • Have efforts been made to correct the problem? (Has anyone else been contacted about this problem; was anything done about your concern)?

    What is done with the information that is received by the OIG?

    The information we receive is reviewed to identify systemic or criminal issues and potential areas for postal-wide reviews. In addition, information that is received is reviewed and evaluated to determine if investigation is warranted. If the OIG determines that no follow-up will be done regarding a Hotline complaint, the OIG generally does not inform the Hotline complainant of that, due to a lack of resources.


    How are audits selected?

    Through trend and data analysis, the OIG's annual audit plan provides guidelines on when and what programs and operations should be audited. The information we collect will be reviewed on a quarterly basis to determine if there are systemic problems that impact the efficiency and operations of the Postal Service. Information received will also be used to identify ways to reduce costs and streamline operations in the Postal Service.


    Does the OIG deal with individual issues?

    The OIG generally does not handle individual issues, except for whistleblower reprisal complaints and related executive investigations. Other individual issues should be pursued through administrative processes available within the Postal Service, such as the EEO process, grievance procedures, etc.


    How long is the process, once a Hotline complaint is filed?

    It is difficult to determine a completion date or time. Each case is different; some may take longer than others.


    When should you file a complaint?

    Immediately! Disclosure should be made as soon as information is available. Please take a minute and review "How do I file a complaint?"