Police in Florida are warning the public that envelopes that can be used to send anonymous bills and bills of $50 and up may be able to be used for a criminal act.
The state Department of Revenue says the pink envelope challenge is on its way to the Florida legislature, which could be one of the first steps to cracking down on the practice.
“This is not something that we have seen in the past, but we do believe that it is becoming more and more prevalent,” said Melissa DeGioia, a spokesperson for the department.
The Department of Finance says that using an envelope with a pink ribbon to send a bill is illegal.
“We are not allowed to use this as a means of payment.
That is illegal,” said DeGIOIA.
In Florida, the envelope is supposed to be “for personal use only,” meaning the person has to get permission from the person receiving the envelope before the envelope can be delivered to them.
DeGIOIAS says there are rules about what the person can do with the envelope, and that’s the only way to know what to do.
“There are some restrictions that you have to follow.
We’re not saying that the envelope cannot be opened for you to look at it and see what’s inside,” said deGIOIas.”
If the envelope has a red ribbon on it, you can look at what is inside, and you’re not allowed,” said Scott Williams, an investigator with the Department of Justice.
Williams says that if someone opens an envelope and sees what’s in there, then they’re allowed to open the envelope and look inside it, but the person is still not allowed “to take that envelope, to take it home, to use that envelope for personal use.”
He says the department is investigating the envelope’s use.
A spokesperson for Florida’s Department of Corrections says they’re also looking into the issue.
“We’re investigating whether the envelope itself could be considered a weapon,” said Jessica Moore.
“The envelope itself, the ribbon, is not considered a firearm,” said Moore.
The department says that’s because the envelope contains a photo of the person who opened it.