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Posted on December 8, 2016 by in Identity & Privacy, Personal

With the holiday season upon you, have you figured out a way to minimize the amount of time a delivered package sits outside your front door before you bring it inside?

Thieves, also known as “Porch Pirates,” sure hope not.

Many Porch Pirates, at this time of year, invest good time seeking out packages on doorsteps and helping themselves to them.

They may either randomly drive around any neighborhood looking at door stoops as they pass by, or they may follow UPS, FedEx, and USPS delivery trucks. If you live in what you consider a “safe” neighborhood, don’t get ahead of yourself; professional crooks know that in most areas, it’s easy to avoid being noticed traipsing up to your front door and nonchalantly walking away with the package to a nearby car.

Thieves who follow trucks will park nearby as the delivery is made, then wait to see if anyone answers the doorbell. If it seems like nobody’s home, they’ll brazenly take the package or box.

The Porch Pirate banks on the possibility the box contains something valuable for himself, his girlfriend, or even his kids. If not, he’ll sell it on eBay and nobody will ever know it’s been stolen.

Protect Yourself from Porch Pirates

  • Get the tracking number for all of your purchases and keep on top of the anticipated delivery time and date.
  • It’s always best to ensure someone is home to receive the package. Not all delivery personnel will ring a doorbell. You’ll need to periodically check your front stoop on the delivery date.
  • If possible, arrange for a signature to be required to receive the package, though this is an inconvenient option for single-resident households who must be gone the day of delivery. You can arrange, then, once you receive the ticket on your door, to pick the package up at a delivery station. If that’s not possible have the delivery person leave the item somewhere invisible to a roving thief or your condo/apartment’s building office.
  • Have the packages delivered to your place of work. If the company has a shipping and receiving department, all the better.
  • A visible surveillance camera (even a fake one) and a security company sign near the front door will often deter a thief.

I pay attention to everything. It’s a blessing and a curse. Just in the past 6 months I’ve noticed Amazon Prime boxes in peoples rubbish everywhere. The Porch Pirate banks on the possibility that the box contains something valuable.

It’s just a matter of time until everyone is targeted. Heed the above advice and take the necessary steps to protect yourself.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Marc Falardeau.