The popularity of online shopping has soared since the start of the pandemic, and with it the prevalence of thieves better known as porch pirates.
And it’s not just random people stealing your packages. Last week, an Amazon delivery driver in Wichita stole a package from a porch after setting it down and taking the required photo as proof of delivery.
Michael Brower, a spokesman for State Farm Insurance, offered a few tips to protect purchases from porch pirates as the Christmas shopping season heats up. For starters, requiring a signature is a simple and effective option.
“With quite a few people either having odd working hours or even working from home, that might work great to be able to sign for a package directly at your house, but you can also request that it be delivered to say your work office,” he said.
Requiring a signature for package delivery also ensures the recipient will receive the package directly, and it won’t be sitting in front of their house for any length of time. As an alternative, Brower recommended using a community package delivery box for another layer of safety.
“Those are locked and secure, and that just gives a great option for having a secure delivery of your package,” he said. “How that usually works is that when your package is delivered, you receive a code so that you get notification and then you can go and safely retrieve your purchase.”
Doorbell security cameras are relatively easy to install, are inexpensive and can enable homeowners to talk with someone who is at their front door from their couch or across the country. Brower said home security systems are becoming popular and even may earn discounts on insurance premiums while thwarting porch pirates.
“Visible security cameras, logos or markings that there is a home monitoring system in place, this all can help deter those thieves to keep them from even entering your front porch or your steps to start with, and another thing actually is outdoor lighting,” he said.
Even fake cameras, complete with blinking red lights, are another available option to deter would-be thieves, Brower said.
According to State Farm, here’s what you do if your package has been stolen by porch pirates:
- Verify delivery. First check with the post master to ensure that the package was officially delivered.
- Call the Police. Inform your local police force of the incident and be sure to provide video or other evidence if you have it.
- Contact the retailer. Coverage varies by retailer but some companies offer coverage for stolen packages.
- Contact the shipping company. Like retailers, some carriers offer coverage for deliveries that were stolen.
- Check your credit card benefits. If you are unable to resolve the issue with either the retailer or the shipping company, double check your credit card benefits for purchase protection.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice