'Tis the season for grab-and-go thefts.
According to the UPS website, UPS estimates it will deliver 527 million packages in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, surpassing last year's total of 480 million. Those stats do not include other companies shipping packages like the USPS and FedEx.
With so many packages coming and going, it is easy to see how those boxes on the doorstep could become easy targets for criminals.
On Facebook, Patch Reader Deann Braley wrote:
"Someone tried that at our house today. Rang the doorbell and waited, when no one answered she was starting to pick up the package and I opened the door. She said she was looking for donations. I told her my package wasn't a donation and she took off."
Here are some safety tips to remember:
- Shop at secure websites that you trust or are well known. You can look for online reviews of the website to help you determine if it’s safe to shop there.
- Before paying, make sure the website address begins with “https”. The “s” at the end means it’s supposed to be more "secure". It also means the website should encrypt the information it sends.
- Packages left on a porch or door step are more likely to be stolen. There have been incidents where thieves have followed the delivery truck, waited for the driver to leave the package on the porch or doorstep and then stolen the package.
- If possible, choose an alternate shipping address. You can send the package to a relative or neighbor who is home during the day and can accept delivery. Or you can send packages to your workplace rather than your home. This will ensure that you receive the package or someone will sign for it if you are not available.
- Always try to request signature confirmation on deliveries. This will make certain that the delivery person won’t leave the package unattended.
- Ask the package delivery company to hold the package at their location if you will not be home (many have local delivery centers). Some companies can hold packages for a few days.
- Some delivery services offer text, email or web based notifications to track your package and let you know when it has been delivered. Check the delivery company’s website for this service.
We continue to ask that you be alert and look out for suspicious people and vehicles in your neighborhood. Be Aware and be Safe!
The following may prevent you from becoming a victim of mail theft:
- UPS provides a program titled, “UPS My Choice” which provides delivery alerts to electronic devices as well as package tracking. The free service allows you to coordinate delivery to other locations or to a nearby UPS Store. http://www.ups.com/mychoice/features/
- The United States Postal Service also provides several methods of protection through package tracking and “hold mail” services. https://www.usps.com/
- Some companies provide a “special instructions” category allowing for the possibility of placing packages in a more secure location (ie: “place inside fence on side yard”).
They recommend not allowing valuable packages to be left on porches or in your mailboxes for extended periods of time and suggest coordinating for package pickup with neighbors, family or friends and/or the use of special delivery methods will ensure you are not the victim of theft.
How do you protect your packages during the holiday season? Tell us in the comments section below.