Bye, Bye Porch Pirates! Prevent Package Theft With These Simple Tips…
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Not today, porch pirates! ✋
Unfortunately, package theft is becoming a widespread problem in neighborhoods all across the country. It’s even more of an issue at this time of year, when so many people are doing their Christmas shopping online.
Thankfully, there are lots of precautions you can take to reduce the risk that you will have packages stolen from your doorstep. While some of them require an investment of either money or effort, many of these strategies are completely FREE and require just a little bit of advance planning.
Here are some of the best tips to prevent package theft and get your gifts delivered securely this holiday season!
1. Opt for in-store pick-up.
Many retailers with brick and mortar locations will allow you to choose in-store pick-up rather than having your online order shipped to your home. This costs you nothing, and can even help you avoid paying shipping charges in most cases!
2. Have packages delivered to an alternate address.
If you’re not usually home during the day to receive deliveries, you may want to consider having your packages delivered to your workplace or another location where a trusted friend can receive it on your behalf. Try asking a family member who lives nearby, or even a neighbor who works from home.
3. Ask a trusted neighbor to keep watch.
If you’re expecting a package to be delivered to your home and you know you can’t be there to receive it, consider asking a trusted neighbor to watch for it.
If you can ask someone who’s normally home during the day, they’ll more than likely be happy to watch for your package and keep it inside their home until you can pick it up after work!
4. Use pick-up lockers
Costco’s lockers are located inside the warehouse near the entrance in most locations, while Amazon has lockers at a wide variety of locations such as convenience stores and Whole Foods Markets.
5. Set up notifications to track your package.
Services like UPS My Choice and FedEx Delivery Manager can notify you as soon as a label is initiated for your address, allowing you to track it all the way to the point of delivery. You can also use these services to re-route packages to another delivery point or request that the carrier leaves your package in a more secure or hidden location.
The USPS also offers a free service called Informed Delivery, which allows you to see an actual image of the mail you can expect to receive each day. You can also see a list of the packages that are scheduled to be delivered with your mail that day.
6. Give your recipient a heads-up.
Before shipping gifts to friends and family, let them know that they have a parcel coming and ask them if there’s an alternate address where they’d like to have it delivered. Once the package has shipped, provide your recipient with the tracking information so they can keep an eye out for it!
7. Use an alternate pick-up location.
Both FedEx and UPS have access points at select retailers like Walmart, grocery stores, pharmacies, and office supply stores. Having a package shipped to one of these access points means that it will be kept safe until you can pick it up at your convenience.
Check out this post to learn more about using FedEx and UPS access points to both receive and send packages!
One member of the Hip2Save Facebook group shared that they live in a rural community where the USPS won’t even deliver the mail, and carriers like UPS and FedEx struggle to get up the mountain in bad weather. In addition to having a P.O. box, this reader made arrangements for carriers to deliver packages to a nearby business on the main road as necessary.
8. Require a signature on delivery.
Most carriers offer the option to require a signature upon delivery. This is a delivery protection feature that may be required by the shipper, or one that you can request for your own peace of mind.
This service will likely require additional fees, and someone will obviously need to be present to sign for the package. It may be worth the additional cost and inconvenience though, especially in situations where your package is either very valuable or irreplaceable.
9. Insure your most valuable packages
Check with your carrier before taking this step, because packages valued at less than $100 may already be covered by select carriers. If you’re shipping something more valuable, purchasing this extra layer of protection will allow you to file a claim and recover the value of a lost or stolen parcel.
10. Get a PO Box.
Despite the free options available to help ensure the safe delivery of packages, some people still prefer to have their deliveries sent directly to a PO Box at the post office. If your local post office offers Premium PO Box Services, they will hold any packages too large to fit in your PO Box until you can pick them up.
The smallest PO Box costs $92 a year, or you can opt to pay $26 for three months. This would be more than enough time to get you through the holiday shopping season, when you’re more likely to have lots of packages delivered.
11. Use a smart lock.
Smart locks allow keyless entry into your home so that you can let people in while you’re away. Although it would require a significant level of trust, this means that you could arrange to have packages delivered inside of your home, rather than risk having them taken from your doorstep.
Amazon Key is one service that works with smart locks through a mobile app. Prime members in select areas can use Amazon Key to opt for in-home delivery of their Amazon purchases.
12. Install a security camera.
The internet is littered with shameful videos of porch pirates getting caught in the act, and it’s often thanks to doorbell cameras like Ring and Google Nest. If a potential thief notices a doorbell camera installed in plain sight, they may decide to leave your packages alone rather than risk having their grinchy misdeeds go viral.
If someone is brazen enough to swipe your stuff under the watchful eye of a security camera, at least you will have evidence to share with the police.
Speaking of law enforcement, here are some steps you can take if you do have a package stolen:
- Contact the sender. Many retailers have a policy in place to handle these situations, and they may be able to provide you with a replacement (depending on your situation). If you were expecting a package from a friend or family member, you’ll want to let them know as well so they can begin the process of filing a claim.
- Contact the carrier. Different carriers have different procedures for dealing with package theft, and they all seem to require a certain degree of patience. Depending on the carrier, you may eventually be compensated for your loss, but you might get quicker results and a better outcome by contacting the sender first.
- File a police report. If you’re confident that someone stole your package, you can file a police report. While you may not get your package back, you could provide your police department with valuable information to help them combat the widespread issue of package theft in your area.
Thank your delivery drivers during the holiday season with this fun idea!