By now, you’ve surely seen security cam videos of people grabbing giant 12-foot skeletons from someone’s front yard and shoving them into the back of their usually much smaller vehicle. While it’s funny to watch these thieves struggling to pry the arms and legs off the skeleton as his head rolls down the street, for the homeowner who spent a lot on that Halloween decoration, it’s anything less than comical.
Porch pirates are a year-round threat, but during the holiday season, when packages are arriving in droves, these crooks double their efforts to take what isn’t theirs from those who work hard. While you have no control over what these unscrupulous criminals do with their free time, you have control over how you can receive your deliveries without fearing a porch pirate will grab it before you do.
Installing a security camera is a safe method of finding out what’s going on in front of your home, but thieves expect this and obscure their identities. So, security cameras are great to have but aren’t always effective in preventing porch pirates from getting their grimy hands on your packages.
How To Prevent Thieves From Making Off With Your Holiday Deliveries
1. Pick Up Your Order in Person
Plenty of stores offer ship-to-store delivery options, and the option of ordering online and picking up your order in person. Check out the list of retailers offering in-store and curbside pickup.
Amazon released its biggest-ever sales between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, as global Amazon customers purchased hundreds of millions of products, which essentially means hundred of millions of deliveries. But the giant retailer has ways for you to get your packages delivered safely and efficiently — and are some of the very best methods.
Amazon Delivery Options
Amazon offers multiple ways to get your deliveries in person. As a bonus, you can use these same options for returning your Amazon packages. These are the most popular Amazon delivery options:
- Amazon Locker Delivery: Amazon Locker is a self-service kiosk where you can pick up your Amazon packages usually inside supermarkets, convenience stores, banks, and other locations. Amazon offers the Locker option for apartments, too. It’s a secure way of getting your orders without worrying about porch pirates or snoopers around the holidays. Check for your closest Hub Locker.
- Amazon Key In-Garage Delivery: Perhaps one of the easiest ways to get your orders, Amazon Key gives Amazon delivery drivers access to your garage with the MyQ device. Amazon drivers put deliveries right in your garage.
2. Sign Up for Order Tracking and Delivery Updates
Keeping track of the delivery timing of your order is an easy way to thwart porch pirates. A lot of stores offer the option to receive text or email updates for when your order ships and its expected delivery time. And usually, on the expected date of delivery, you can track your order in real-time, too.
Check for this option when you’re ready to check out, or sometimes it’ll appear immediately following the check out process. I know this is when Best Buy offers the option. And if you just can’t be home when your package arrives, ask your neighbor to grab it for you and bake some cookies to say “thank you.”
3. Get Smart Doorbell Alerts
For those with a security camera attached to their doorbell, you can get alerts when someone is at your front door. If you’re home, that’s great. But if you’re not, you can at least know a package is on your doorstep. Just be aware, porch pirates have followed along behind UPS and FedEx drivers, waiting in the shadows to pounce on a delivery.
4. Request a Signature Confirmation
Some deliveries automatically require a signature, like an Apple MacBook order from Best Buy. UPS offers the option when you check out at specific retailers, sometimes with an extra fee if the purchase doesn’t automatically qualify. If you’re not home, UPS leaves a note with the next delivery attempt or which UPS pickup location you can pick it up from. After three attempts, they return the package to the sender.
Some USPS deliveries require a signature. If you can’t be home, use the USPS Electronic Signature Online and USPS can drop off your Signature Required package in your mailbox or a preferred delivery location.
5. Redirect Your Package Deliveries
These are the best ways of redirecting the delivery of your packages:
- FedEx can deliver packages to your nearest Walmart, Walgreens, a FedEx location, or select Dollar General and grocery store locations. They hold your package for up to seven days.
- Use UPS My Choice to reroute your package to another address or reschedule the delivery. Some senders can use UPS Delivery Intercept to reschedule a delivery, which might be worth contacting the retailer where you placed your order.
- Reschedule a USPS delivery for free using the Redelivery Service.
6. Give Drivers Additional Delivery Instructions
Most delivery services offer the option to leave extra instructions for the delivery driver, but in my experience, it’s not always a guarantee.
- UPS drivers can deliver your packages to a neighbor at your request. For an approximate delivery time of your UPS package, you can get a four-hour delivery window with a UPS My Choice sign-up.
- USPS offers the option to give your delivery driver specific instructions for your deliveries through Informed Delivery.
- FedEx lets you give specific instructions to their drivers for where to leave your package, like the side of your house or under or behind something and they’ll “honor your requests on every delivery to your address,” according to the FedEx website.
7. Put a Hold on Package Deliveries
Go worry-free when you put package deliveries on hold. It may take extra time to get your order, but it’s worth the peace of mind of knowing it’s safe and secure.
- You can add a hold to your UPS deliveries with UPS My Choice. They keep your packages at a UPS store for when you’re ready to pick them up or UPS can deliver them on a specific date.
- FedEx can hold deliveries to your address for up to two weeks for free, which you can schedule through a free FedEx Delivery Manager account.
- Use the Hold for PickUp option at USPS to pick up your package at your local Post Office.
What To Do If a Porch Pirate Steals Your Packages
Even if you’ve taken every humanly possible precaution to keep your deliveries safe from thieves, where there’s a will, there’s a way — and porch pirates have a lot of will.
Amazon delivery drivers take pictures of the packages they leave on your porch. But if they mark your Amazon order “as delivered” and it’s not there, contact Amazon. I’ve had plenty of Amazon in-garage packages marked as delivered only to have them actually show up the next day — no clue why.
My advice with Amazon: wait until the next day. Based on personal experience, you’ll likely have to wait anyway, but Amazon will almost always send a replacement for free.
FedEx packages come with tracking information, making it easier to find your package. You can also get a picture of when your delivery arrives through the FedEx Delivery Manager.
In the event you can’t find your package status or it’s marked as delivered, you can file a FedEx claim for missing packages through the FedEx FAQ Hub. You can ﬁle a claim within 60 calendar days from the shipment date and 21 calendar days for international packages.
UPS lets you file a claim online via their Claim Dashboard within 60 days of the scheduled delivery for packages that are lost or damaged.
You can’t submit a claim if the retailer doesn’t allow recipients or third parties to begin the claim process. These include Amazon, Dell, Apple, Walmart, and Macy’s. UPS processing can take between eight to 15 business days, but sometimes less. Contact UPS Customer Service at 1-800-742-5877.
The USPS has advice for keeping your mail safe and what to do if you have packages stolen from your mailbox. One tip is to sign up for free with the Informed Delivery option, where you can see pictures of your upcoming mail deliveries. Or, schedule email reminder notifications for important pieces of mail, and turn on package tracking for receiving the status via text and/or email.
You can report stolen or missing packages to 877-876-2455 or make a report on their website.
The post How To Keep Annoying Porch Pirates Away From Your Holiday Packages appeared first on The Real Deal by RetailMeNot.