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How to protect your packages from porch pirates

Photo by Alamy Stock Photo

Take these steps to protect yourself from package thieves. Cyber Monday kicks off the busy season for more than just online retailers and delivery services. It also opens high season for porch pirates.

Of course, thieves who steal packages from homes operate year-round, but they’re particularly active during the holidays. If you order gifts online, you risk becoming one of their victims. 

Ways to protect your packages from being stolen

Have your packages delivered to a secure location

Many retailers allow you to opt for in-store pickup when you order online. You can also have packages sent to a UPS store or U.S. Postal Service (USPS) office, designated brick-and-mortar retailers, or to an Amazon Locker facility. Your apartment complex’s leasing office also might accept packages.

Sign up for delivery alerts

Some retailers will send you an email or text when your package is dropped off, and most delivery services have apps that allow you to track packages. That way, you can make sure you’re home to receive the package, or you can ask a neighbor to collect it for you.

Install a security camera

A front-door camera alone might discourage package pirates. Even if it doesn’t, it will record the theft and give you evidence to bolster any claim you make.

Place a lockbox at your doorstep

This large container can be bolted to your property. After placing a package inside, a delivery person can secure it with a combination lock.

What to do if your package is stolen

Contact the retailer who sold you the item

Many sellers will provide a replacement or refund if you call customer service and explain what happened.

File a claim with the delivery service

If the retailer doesn’t respond or attempt to resolve the issue, you can reach out to the outfit that delivered the package. FedEx, UPS, DHL, and the USPS all allow you to submit a claim for lost, damaged, or delayed packages.

Call your credit card company

Most credit cards provide purchase protection, which reimburses you for items that are damaged or stolen, as long as you paid for the item entirely on the card and file the claim within a certain number of days of the purchase. Some high-value items aren’t covered, though, and some credit card companies require you to file a police report or insurance claim first.

Talk to your insurance agent

A package stolen from your porch was on your property, so it is covered by your homeowners or rental insurance. However, your deductible applies if you file a claim, as do any limits on certain items.

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