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Monday, 26 November 2018 06:36

6 Ways To Avoid Holiday Package Theft

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Online American consumers spent $50.6 billion this year through Black Friday, and sales for Cyber Monday are expected to reach or exceed an additional $7.8 billion. As a result, the U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver nearly 15 billion pieces of mail and 900 million packages, for a total of nearly 16 billion deliveries between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That means more packages delivered to homes — and more package thieves, also known as "porch pirates" are waiting to grab your holiday purchases. 

In 2017, InsuranceQuotes released a study revealing that 25.9 million Americans had a package stolen from their front porch or doorstep. — and that’s just during the holiday season.

Package theft can happen anytime but tends to happen more often during the holiday season. With more consumers shopping online every year, this number of thefts will undoubtedly climb. Package deliveries increase exponentially the two-and-a-half weeks before Christmas, according to Package Concierge, a company that provides package receipt systems for apartment buildings.

Part of the problem is that it’s so hard to guarantee a package is safe once it’s delivered. While you may add insurance to a piece of mail or package through the delivery service, once the package reaches your doorstep the coverage ends, as the insurance is aimed at covering any physical damage that may take place in transit. Even when dropped off at an apartment building, packages may go missing before recipients can claim parcels. To combat the issue, delivery services, retailers and startups are working to create alternatives to traditional home delivery that will prevent thieves from getting away with your items.

The United States Postal Service, for example, introduced Informed Delivery -- a free daily digital preview of what’s coming to your mailbox. Not only can you manage your packages and get a peek at cards headed your way, but you can also see some exterior images of magazines and catalogs — all from your mobile app, dashboard, tablet or computer.

UPS has created the My Choice program, which allows customers to receive updates on their package and view estimated delivery times and even change the delivery address prior to scheduled drop-off to keep it from sitting outside. If delivering to your office or a friend’s house aren’t better options to protect your package, UPS Access Point is another free feature that allows customers to opt for delivery at a local public location, rather than at home. Instead of having your package sit out on your porch all afternoon, you can stop at the drop box at the local drugstore or bank on your way home. It appears people are taking advantage of the elevated control, too. UPS reports My Choice has been used to deliver more than 1 billion packages since its creation in 2011.

For apartment and condo communities, Package Concierge has been working with property management companies to create a better system for package deliveries since 2012. Rather than having packages delivered to the front desk, they’ll be deposited into Package Concierge lockers, which are often installed near the resident mailboxes. Residents are notified when they have a package delivered, and use the app or an email code to unlock the right locker. Packages are dated with a time-stamped photo of every delivery and retrieval.

The best thing you can do to protect your packages is to be proactive. Keeping your packages as safe and secure as possible is simply a matter of figuring out a system that works best for you. Here are more options to better protect your packages.

  1. Provide some porch coverage. Thieves are most likely to strike when they see a package sitting out in the open. If they can’t see a package from the street, they’re far less likely to walk up to see what they can grab. Large planters, a thick column or solid furniture that provides plenty of space to obscure a package from the edge of your property can help cut down on package theft. A note or request to the courier to leave the package at the back door could also keep it from being seen.

  2. Install a security camera. Keep an eye on your holiday packages and on your home with the latest security technology. Security cameras and video doorbells can get images of people who come onto your doorstep. A smart thief will stay away from a porch that’s filming them, but those that don’t are captured on camera -- you can then forward to your local police department. There’s no guarantee you’ll get a stolen package back, but there’s a chance the thief will be caught. Products such as Ring, Blink, and others can be self-installed without monitoring fees. Smartphone apps allow you to check in remotely. Posting a sign that your premises are protected by security cams is another way of cutting down package thefts.

  3. Ship packages delivered to another address. If it's allowed, have your packages sent to where you work, or to the address of a family member or friend.

  4. Arrange to have packages held at a facility. If you miss delivery on a package that requires a signature too many times, it’ll be held at the facility for you to pick up. Especially if the package being sent has valuable items, requesting the package be held at the facility is an option to keep anything from being left on your doorstep. Package Concierge, UPS Access Point, and Amazon Locker Delivery all let packages be delivered to a secure location without forcing you to go too far out of your way to retrieve them. Many large online retailers offer free shipping directly to a nearby store, where customers can pick up their items without worrying about package theft.

  5. Pick up at store. When ordering items, choose to pick up or ship to store when available. Most retailers today offer this as a shipping option.

  6. Setup a home lock box. This could be an expensive option that may require a bit of additional work but, if you live in an area susceptible to package theft, it will keep your packages safe. Options range from about $45 to more than $300 depending on size and retailer. Boxes are typically purchased separately from locks. Home lock vendor LiteRock explains how their solution works.

Don't let the "porch pirates" get away way your gifts. Choose a security option works best for you.


Disclaimer: Baldwin | Welsh & Parker do not endorse third-party vendors mentioned in this article. Companies and products mentioned are provided for information purposes only.

Sources include: USPS, UPS, WTop.com

Read 227 times Last modified on Friday, 30 November 2018 23:56

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