As the holiday season approaches, so does the threat of porch pirates. These are the people who snatch your online orders from your doorstep before you can get to them. Police say that these thieves are getting more brazen and cunning, starting their raids earlier and using more sophisticated methods. Here are 10 ways to keep your packages safe from being stolen.

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Package theft surging

Package theft is on the rise as more people shop online for the holidays. According to a Package Theft Statistics survey, more than one-quarter of consumers (26%) have had a package stolen from their doorstep at least once. The 2023 holiday season is expected to see more of these thieves who target your deliveries. That’s why it’s time to take action and protect your packages from being snatched by porch pirates.

10 ways to keep packages safe from being stolen this holiday season

Packages piling up on doorstep (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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How to protect packages from being stolen

By far the most useful innovation in years for package delivery security is the video doorbell. It catches crooks on video pure and simple. 

Strategy #1: Deter porch pirates with a video doorbell

Depending upon how well your police department responds to porch pirate package theft, position your video doorbell to capture the face of the pirate and your package deliveries. A Video Doorbell can push notifications to get a phone alert whenever anyone or anything approaches your door, even if they don’t ring the doorbell. 

Also, you might want to consider adding a couple of nearly invisible wireless cameras on tree limbs near the street at your house. We did it in hopes of being able to record a license plate if ever needed for police. I can set them to send a notification when the camera detects a person or car.

Pro tip: If your camera has the feature set your video camera to notify you when it identifies packages within view.

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Strategy #2: Pick a delivery date

Get packages delivered on a day you know someone will be home to receive them. Amazon and several retailers offer to ship for delivery on specific days of the week. That way, it is easier to monitor when packages are most likely to arrive and can be safely stashed.

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Strategy #3: Sign up for delivery notifications

You can get an alert each time a package arrives at your doorstep. Both FedEx and UPS will send a text when you’ve just received a delivery. Amazon will also send you a shipment text letting you know a package was just delivered.

To set up Amazon delivery notifications, follow these quick steps.

  1. Log on to the Amazon site
  2. Go to the “Your Account” section
  3. Scroll down to the Communication and content section
  4. Tap Shipment Updates via Text
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions and then tap Subscribe

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Strategy #4: Talk to your delivery drivers

10 ways to keep packages safe from being stolen this holiday season

Talk with your mail carrier, UPS and FedEx delivery drivers (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Say hello to the folks normally delivering packages. Ask them to place your deliveries in a less visible spot if you are not home. The key is getting your packages out of view of opportunistic porch pirates that may be driving by looking for easy prey.

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Strategy #5: Send your packages to Amazon Lockers

Opting for delivery to a nearby lockbox called Amazon Lockers is a very secure method to dodge package theft in many cities. I tried it once and found it to be a hassle to make an extra trip to receive deliveries, but it is indeed more secure than leaving an order on my porch. You get notified when packages are awaiting your retrieval. You enter the Locker code to get your items. See how far away the nearest Amazon Locker is located from your home. ‘

If you don’t have an Amazon account, here are 9 best features of Amazon Prime that may convince you of a membership and here are 5 ways to get a cheaper Amazon Prime membership.

Strategy #6: Add a locking delivery box or a smart mailbox

10 ways to keep packages safe from being stolen this holiday season

Locking delivery box (Elephantrunk Parcel Drop Box) (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

One of the most effective ways to prevent porch pirates from stealing your packages is to install a locking delivery box on your property. A locking delivery box is a secure container that can be opened by a code or a key, and only authorized delivery personnel can access it. You can choose from different sizes, shapes, and designs of locking delivery boxes, depending on your needs and preferences.

10 ways to keep packages safe from being stolen this holiday season

A smart mailbox connects to Wi-Fi and alerts you when you receive packages (Eufy) (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

A smart mailbox is a device that connects to your Wi-Fi network and alerts you when you receive mail or packages. You can also remotely lock and unlock the mailbox using your smartphone. Some smart mailboxes have a built-in camera and microphone that let you see and talk to the delivery person. A smart mailbox can keep your packages safe and secure until you retrieve them.

Strategy #7: Amazon Key In-Garage Delivery

We added a strong deadbolt to the door leading into the house from the garage before signing up. Now, when we are not home, an Amazon delivery can be placed securely inside our garage using the free service called Amazon Key In-Garage Delivery. The addition of a smart garage controller is the first step. Once you’ve signed up for Amazon Key In-Garage Delivery, pick Key Delivery when checking out on Amazon to have your packages securely put in the garage. I really like that you can block access to your garage any time you want. The driver never needs your garage code and access only works for their one-time delivery.

Strategy #8: Monitor nearby package theft reports

10 ways to keep packages safe from being stolen this holiday season

Apps like NextDoor and Neighbors warn when nearby porch pirates are reported (Ring) (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Sign up for neighborhood porch pirate alerts from popular local networks like Neighbors and Nextdoor apps. This is where people often post when they’ve had a package stolen and sometimes upload videos or images of the suspected porch pirates. We’ve been about to identify a suspected porch pirate previously seen on one of these neighborhood apps so that our friends and neighbors can also be on the lookout for these package thieves that seem to strike in seconds flat.

Strategy #9 Request a signature confirmation

10 ways to keep packages safe from being stolen this holiday season

Request a signature confirmation for deliveries (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Another way to prevent package theft is to request a signature confirmation for your deliveries. This means that the delivery person will not leave the package at your door unless someone signs for it. You can request a signature confirmation from most delivery services, such as FedEx, UPS, USPS, and DHL. This option may cost extra, but it can give you peace of mind that your package will not be stolen.

Kurt’s key takeaways

Porch piracy is a serious problem that can ruin your holiday spirit and cost you money and time. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent your packages from being stolen by these thieves. You can use video doorbells, delivery notifications, lockboxes, Amazon Lockers, or Amazon Key In-Garage delivery to secure your deliveries. You can also choose a delivery date, talk to your delivery drivers, or monitor nearby package theft reports to stay alert and vigilant. By following these 10 strategies, you can keep your packages safe and enjoy the holiday season without worrying about porch pirates.

How do you think online retailers and delivery companies can help reduce the problem of porch piracy? What are some features or services you would like to see them offer? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

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