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According to insuranceQuotes.com, in 2015 alone, an estimated 23 million Americans had packages stolen from their homes. That number is likely going to rise as more and more consumers are enjoying the perks of online shopping.
How can I protect myself from porch pirates?
One of the best ways to prevent porch theft is knowing when you are going to receive a package and making arrangements so that the package is not left there for a long period of time.
|When you order from Amazon, you can opt to receive text messages letting you know when a package will arrive and when it has been delivered.|
The United States Postal Service has a program that allows you so see when a package is coming to you, get text alerts whenever there’s a tracking update for your package, and schedule a redelivery of your package online if a delivery attempt is made when you aren’t home. If you’re going out of town, you can put all your mail on hold. They’ll keep it for you at your local Post Office and you can pick it up or they will deliver it all when you’re back in town.
|UPS My Choice is a free program that will send you delivery alerts via text, phone or e-mail the day before a delivery. If you won’t be home at the time of delivery, you can request packages to be held for pickup at a UPS facility. For a $5 per package fee, you can have the item delivered to another address or choose a new delivery date that fits your schedule. A Premium Membership ($40/year) gives you unlimited free deliveries to another address, unlimited free deliveries on another day, plus other benefits.|
FedEx Delivery Manager is a Free program that allows you to hold your delivery at a local FedEx location, give specific instructions to FedEx for deliveries, customize delivery times, request delivery to another address, request a vacation hold, sign for a package remotely, and receive delivery notifications.
It’s also good to make a pact with a neighbor or two to help each other with collecting packages if they are delivered when no one is home.
Upping the Ante
But what if package theft is rampant in your neighborhood and being proactive is not enough? Front porch security cameras are very popular right now, with many featuring apps that allow you to see (and even speak to!) anyone on your front porch in real time.
|The Ring Wi-Fi Enabled Video Doorbell allows you to see, hear, and speak to anyone at your door from your smartphone, tablet or PC. You’ll get instant alerts when visitors press the button on your doorbell or trigger motion sensors. Infrared night vision ensures you can protect your home, even when it’s dark. It conveniently sets up in minutes with the included tool kit and installation guide.|
This Utah man had such a problem with package thieves, he set up his own sting operation, setting out fake packages, and catching the porch pirates on video. This might be a good idea if you suspect the pirate is someone who lives in your neighborhood and you can ID them.
What should I do if I suspect a package has been stolen?
1. Make sure your package really is MIA. Last Christmas, I sent a friend a pair of shoes. When I got the delivery confirmation, I asked her if they fit and she told me she hadn’t received them yet. I went back and forth with the store via email, only for her to find them in her MAILBOX the next day. Moral of the story – not all packages are placed on the porch. Check everywhere!
2. If you have determined that the package is indeed missing, contact the store you ordered from to see if they will work with you on getting a replacement.
3. Contact your local police department on a non-emergency line to report the missing package.
4. Report the issue to your local shipping agent. It is important to know that shipping agencies such as UPS, USPS, and FedEx are typically not responsible for stolen packages, unless they are insured. However, if they are alerted to incidents like these, they may take precautions to leave your packages a little less out in the open.
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