Friday, January 28, 2011

Is it illegal to send cash in the mail?

Quick answer:

As long as the payment does not involve fraud (such as with an illegal lottery), there is no law in the U.S. that prohibits sending cash in the mail. But what about sending cash in the mail overseas?

A year ago I tracked down the address of an old friend in Spain. We'd worked together in the early 1960s and I'd just learned he was now living on a very small pension in Zaragosa. Thinking to give him a pleasant surprise, I enclosed some large-denomination euro bills with my letter, stuck a 98-cent stamp on the envelope, and dropped the cash in the mail at our local post office.

Imagine my surprise when I received a letter back from him, chastizing me for including the cash. ("It's against the law here in Spain," he said, "to send currency in the mail. Didn't you know that?")

Actually, to the best of my knowledge and belief, it is NOT against the law to mail cash--assuming as a gift or for a legitimate purpose--from the United States to any other country in the world. If any of you readers know otherwise, do let me know!

What about sending cash from another country to the U.S. or Canada? That depends upon the country. For example, when we lived in Spain under Generalissimo Franco, the Spanish peseta was a blocked currency. That is, it was illegal to send peseta-bills out of the country. A few odd countries still have blocked currencies so in such cases it is indeed illegal to mail cash out of the country.

But for we Americans and Canadians, no such problem exists.


Is it safe to send currency in the mail?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Help wanted for a new book title

No matter what title I come up with, the publisher will change it. Nevertheless, I need a catchy title in order to hook an agent, and he in turns needs such a title to hook an editor.

The book will bear a vague resemblance to the bestseller "How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It" but will just consider short-term dangers, especially as regards keeping a low profile. Perhaps how to prepare for:

..... A serious financial meltdown
..... A biblical storm such as Katrina
..... A power outage that lasts for month or more
..... A national airport shutdown such as on 9/11/2001
..... A terrorist attack causing a mass exodus from the cities

One title I've considered is Why to Become Invisible Before Disaster Strikes but there must be better ones out there. If you think you have the answer, please send it to my new forum.