Package Theft: 7 Ways To Prevent Your Parcels From Getting Stolen
The season of multiple gift giving may be over but the era of package thieves remains at a high. People who prey on unattended packages are always on the ready to pick your box off the front porch or the mailbox, so you must take proper measures to make sure this does not happen to you. Packages that sit for a long time (even just a few hours, while you’re out doing grocery shopping) are attractive not just to nosy neighbors and curious kids, but to thieves, as well.
How To Prevent Package Theft
According to Consumer Affairs, there are over 23 million complaints about stolen packages in every year — and that’s in the US alone. This number is at its highest during the holiday season, and after Cyber Monday or Black Friday, although reports of theft really happen all-year-round. Thieves don’t really choose an occasion to prey on unopened packages. As long as they see a box unattended, you can be somebody will be interested.
Despite this statistic, there are some things you can do so you don’t become part of this number. While you cannot really predict if and when you will be a victim of a thief, you can take some steps to reduce the likelihood that it will happen to you.
Here are seven things you can do to prevent package theft.
- Have your package delivered to your office, instead
You spend most of the day time at work, anyways, so why not just have your package delivered there so you can receive it yourself? There are just too many stories of packages getting snatch by curious passers-by or naughty neighbors from the porch. Also on a high are complaints about irresponsible delivery guys who just leave packages without even bothering to check if anybody’s home or, worse, pre-signing your delivery forms without asking you first. One way to avoid this is to have it delivered to your workplace or to the house of a friend you trust to ensure that you get your package intact and safe every time.
- Install a security camera on you porch or front door
A camera might not stop thieves from getting at your package, but having one that is visible will deter them from attempting anything. A video cam facing your hallway, driveway or front door is a great deterrent and people will have to think twice before trying to get near. There are security cams that you can access in real time via your smartphone and provide high definition quality videos so you can see things clearly even in dim light conditions, like gloomy weather or dusk. Security experts recommend that you get an HD surveillance camera that has a minimum of 1080p so you can make a clear and positive ID when your package does still get stolen.
- Use Amazon locker or other smart package lockers
When you know nobody’s going to be home, you can have your packages delivered to smart lockers at select locations across the US. You will be given a unique code to punch into the system so it churns out your package. Not all states have this, though, so best to check first if you have a smart locker near you or are willing to drive a bit to retrieve it. Smart lockers are a convenient and guaranteed safe way to receive packages. The UPS Store also lets you buy or rent digital lockers that you can also share with friends if you are frequent online shoppers.
- Put your deliveries on hold
When you know you’re going to be away for a week, you can call the courier service or post office to tell them to place a “hold” on your packages until you call them again or for a pre-set period. Delivery services like FedEx or USPS have this service for free. Some couriers charge a minimal fee for keeping your package at their warehouses for a while. Do check with your service provider first about their fees and guidelines. If they do charge, this amount will be nothing compared to the hassle of having your stuff stolen from your yard just because nobody could receive it.
- Get insurance
You don’t want to come home after a fun holiday to find out that your packages have been stolen or have gone missing. One way to make sure that your precious parcel is protected is by getting insurance. Courier services will guarantee reimbursement on the declared value of your package in the event that it gets looted or it gets lost along the way. Check with your service provider about their terms and conditions first.
- Require a signature upon delivery
There have been plenty of reports about delivery personnel pre-signing your packages and then just leaving them on your front door, ripe for everyone’s picking. To prevent this from happening, you can ask for signature delivery. UPS has this service, where you can ask your sender to require a delivery confirmation signature before the package can be released as “delivered.” If you asked for this service and it was not followed, the courier company can be held liable legally and you will be given a full refund if no proof of delivery is presented.
- Reschedule delivery
If you don’t know when exactly you’ll be returning from your vacation or work trip, you can monitor your shipment using the tracking number and call the courier service to reroute the parcel to another address. This can be a trusted friend or family member’s house where you are sure that somebody will guarantee a delivery first-hand. On the other hand, you can also ask that the delivery company reschedule the actual drop-off. Both services might come with a fee but, again, this amount will be minimal compared to the trouble of tracking your missing package after a relaxing holiday.
Whether it’s the holiday season or a regular day, nobody really is immune to package theft when there’s a parcel just sitting at your porch and not getting any attention. You can outsmart would-be thieves and give yourself peace of mind while you’re away by following any of these seven tips. By being smart about your parcels, you can then go back to shopping and receiving packages confidently and without fear that the nosy neighbor would tinker with it or it gets stolen.