4 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Pesky Porch Pirates
Cyber Monday (and the holiday season in general) is such an exciting time! Nothing like scoring deals for loved ones – and yourself if we're being honest. But did you know that in 2017, a study revealed that 25.9 million American had a package stolen from their front porch or doorstep? And that was just during the holiday season! Another stat says that nearly half of all Americans have had a package stolen from their porch or know someone who has. The takeaway? Your online orders from Cyber Monday and online shopping may turn into a porch pirate's paradise in the weeks to come when it comes time for package delivery! We're here to help with the below list of four helpful tips to protect yourself against package theft this holiday season:
1. Up your front porch security.
Installing a video doorbell camera is a great deterrent in package theft. Most cameras send an alert to your phone when somebody is on your porch. If it's a delivery person, you can talk to them through the built-in microphone and give them specific instructions for leaving the package. Or if it's a package thief, you can scare the scoundrel away by sounds a warning through the camera's built-in microphone. Ultimately, thieves are less likely to steal from a porch knowing that they might get caught on camera. But if they steal anyway, the camera will give you a nice image to turn into the police in hopes of catching them.
2. Opt for a required signature.
Once you receive the shipping notification email containing tracking number from your online order, click through to the the courier service website and update delivery settings. Simply request a required signature upon delivery and the courier won't leave your package on your porch unless someone signs for it. Paul Shade, an inspector with the U.S. Postal Service, says that this is the best way to ensure that it is delivered to a person and not left on the porch for a thief to snag.
3. Have packages delivered to your workplace.
This is arguably one of the safest options, as delivery becomes an "inside job" (meaning packages aren't left outside). Simply place your online orders and change your shipping address to that of your workplace address. There are a few considerations, however, not the least of which is the need to juggle one or more boxes from your office to your car (or, if you're a commuter, to your train or bus). If you work in a large building, you may be subject to the whims of the mailroom -- boxes can just as easily get delayed or misplaced between there and your desk.
4. Sign up for delivery alerts.
Knowledge is power –– in this case, the knowledge that a package has been delivered. That way you'll know exactly what time it was dropped off and where it was left (front door, back porch, wherever). Whenever possible, then, sign up for delivery alerts. Amazon, for example, can notify you via text message when a package is shipped, out for delivery and delivered –– and also if there's a problem along the way. This information can assist you in making arrangements for a neighbor to instead pick up your package once it's been delivered if you're unable to.