If UPS, FedEx or USPS delivers a package, you as the consumer are responsible for it if it's stolen.
"Porch Pirates" is a relatively new term used describe the thieves that steal FedEx, UPS, etc. packages from your porch after delivery but before you collect them. E-commerce sales is an enormous, and growing, part of our economy - web sales now total about $350 billion each year. Unfortunately, at least 23 million people report having had packages stolen from their porches.
Try these 5 tips to thwart Porch Pirates:
1. Lock boxes: You can build or purchase a rugged lock box for your porch. Bolt it down to a permanent surface, concrete or asphalt work well. Install a simple combination lock on the box and then share that combination when you purchase something online. Nearly every delivery service has a “special instructions” section during online checkout. Delivery personnel can then key in the combination and deliver your package to a secure box. To add even more security, change the combination frequently or when you feel you've given it out too many times.
2. Security Services: The emergence of Porch Piracy has created an entire industry determined to prevent these thefts. Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, has a service called Amazon Locker. Instead of a package being delivered to your porch, the packages arrive at a nearby Amazon Locker location, where they’re placed in a secure compartment. You can collect your package with a code and without waiting in line or talking to anyone. Amazon Locker has locations in more than a dozen major U.S. cities, and many are open 24 hours a day and the service is free. Several private companies are adding security for a fee… Companies like Doorman, which is a kind of middleman that accepts delivery of your packages and then delivers them to you personally at a convenient time. Or Package Guard which creates a high tech delivery surface for packages on your porch, notifying you of a delivery, and setting of an alarm if anyone besides you removes the package from your porch. There are also a variety of companies selling the lockboxes discussed in the previous tip.
3. Timely Package Collection: Pick up your package as soon as it's delivered or have a neighbor collect it. UPS, FedEx and the USPS all have tracking services. This allows you to monitor the progress of a shipment very closely by tracking it online and even by receiving email or text alerts. You can be notified the moment your package is delivered and then make arrangements to have the package collected. Porch Piracy is a crime of opportunity. If the package doesn't sit on your porch for long the opportunity to steal it is vastly decreased.
4. Security Cameras: Security cameras are a tried and true deterrent for all manner of criminal behavior. Thieves are very aware of cameras and often look for them before attempting a theft. Also, if you do ever have a package stolen, you have video evidence to pass along to police and online stores. Camera packages can be purchased relatively inexpensively and come with a wide range of options, including wireless capabilities which make them easy to install. Some systems have the ability to remotely monitor your home from mobile devices like tablets and cell phones which adds an extra layer of security and better peace of mind.
5. Security Signs: If all of the previous options seem too expensive or too much hassle consider posting a sign in your yard informing the would be Porch Pirate that your home is under video surveillance or has security alarms. Many criminals are not going to take the time or the chance to call your bluff and proceed with their theft. Again, this is a crime of opportunity, and thieves may not see your package as a great opportunity if they think there is a chance they might be recorded - even if they can't immediately see the security cameras.
Online shopping is here to stay, the convenience and ease of doing your shopping from your computer is difficult to overstate. Therefore, it's important to protect yourself from having your purchased items stolen from your porch before you ever see them.