As shopping online increases, especially during the holiday season, so does the opportunity for theft from your front porch. You order your gifts and they are delivered. But they just don’t stay there until you get home. It’s almost like they grew legs and got up and walked off by themselves. They sort of did. A recent report from insuranceQuotes.com and reported by NBC News, finds that an estimated 23 million Americans have had packages stolen from their homes by porch pirates. What are porch pirates, how do they work and how can you avoid them?
Porch pirates are those who head to your front porch and help themselves to your packages. They really aren’t picky and they have no way of knowing exactly what the package may bring, but that doesn’t matter to them. For some it is a matter of opportunity and random chances as they drive or walk around a neighborhood and find boxes on the porch. They have no shame in their game, as they walk straight up to the porch, grab the box and run.
Other porch pirates reportedly follow delivery trucks and as the truck drives off, the pirates drive up.
How can you avoid theft from your front porch? The Houston Family Examiner had the opportunity to talk to Justin Lavelle, social media and blog content director for BeenVerified* an online service which assists you with background checks as well as managing public data online. There are a few tips you can use as you are shopping online this holiday season which can help protect you against porch pirates.
Lisa Carey: With the holiday shopping season many are shopping online to save time and often money. But we are hearing quite a bit about “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” as boxes are stolen from our family homes. What are some services that major shipping providers offer which we can take advantage of and avoid porch pirating? I know that you can also take advantage of the new services now available by UPS., and with an estimated 630 million packages between Black Friday and New Years to deliver the alternative can be very useful. One such alternative is providing an alternative drop off point using the new UPS Access Point system now available in over 100 cities.
Justin Lavelle: There are a number of different ways to keep you packages safe, which are offered by the United States Postal Service (USPS), FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS). For USPS deliveries, put a mail hold on your mail/deliveries for a limited time and pick your packages up at the post office instead.
UPS and Fed Ex allow you to leave directions for where to drop-off packages. Follow their shipping details so you know what date the delivery is anticipated. Leave a note attached to your door with where you want the delivery to be left (back door, side of house, etc.). Just make sure you write “For UPS” or “For Fed Ex” on the outside and fold the note over or put it in an envelope. Then anyone walking or driving by will not see packages on your front porch. Most shipping providers, such as UPS and Fed Ex, allow you to have a postponed delivery time until you know someone will be home. They also give you the ability to have it shipped to pick-up in person.
L.C.: A number of stores like Best Buy offer ship to store services. Could this be a way of taking advantage of online sales and convenience as well as keeping our packages safe?
J. L.: It is a bit less convenient to do ship to store, but you can stop by after work or over the weekend to pick the items up.
L.C.: Are there things I can do to my home to protect it from stealing deliveries from the porch?
J.L.: Place a camera above your doorway, even if it’s a non-working one, because if a thief thinks they might be recognized on video, they may be less likely to offend. Make sure the path to your door is open, clear and very visible to neighbors and the street. If thieves can shield themselves behind large bushes, holiday decor such as large blow ups, Christmas trees, it will be that much easier for them to go unnoticed.
Make it look like you’re home. Keep a car parked in the driveway, play holiday music inside your home, or keep the TV on. Oftentimes, the sound will carry outside your front door.
L.C.: Do you have any other suggestions?
J.L.: Consider sending your packages to a trusted neighbor you know will be home during the day. Make sure to treat your neighbor to a Starbuck’s gift card or another small gift for helping out. Offer to do the same for him or her on other days. If your employer won’t mind send your packages to your office address if you know you won’t be home during the day to accept them.
With a little pre-planning and a few simple steps you can prevent your packages and deliveries from being stolen from your front door or driveway this holiday season. Don’t let the Grinch come calling and ruining your holiday.
BeenVerified helps people discover, understand and use public data in their everyday lives. It is a great tool to locate relatives and friends you’ve lost touch with and want to bring together over the holidays and to make protect yourself from online scams which are prevalent during the holiday season. The company is a leading source of online background checks and contact information. BeenVerified allows individuals to find more information about people, phone numbers, email addresses and property records in a way that’s fast, easy and affordable.