Protect Yourself from Porch Pirates
Holiday shopping season is upon us and you might be expecting a few last-minute packages delivered to your doorstep. Unfortunately, when it comes to unguarded treasures at your door, your neighborhood porch pirates are ready to pilfer your holiday treasures.
We’ve all seen the familiar footage from a home security camera: a fish-eye view of a home’s front porch sporting a stack of smiling Amazon Prime boxes. An unexpected car pulls up. A stranger approaches the cardboard booty. They look to the left, look to the right, scoop up the package and run back to the car, ruining the holidays for everyone.
The holiday season can be stressful enough arranging travel or hosting overnight guests, baking, cleaning, shopping and wrapping gifts. You don’t need the extra burden of crooks stealing your packages and peace of mind.
Here are some ways you can batten down the hatches and stave off the porch pirates:
Have your packages delivered elsewhere
If you have the luxury of being able to have your packages delivered to your office, this is one of the best options. As a bonus, you can easily hide the gifts from your family. If this isn’t an option, have your orders shipped to a neighbor or family member who is home during the day.
FedEx packages can be picked up at one of their offices or a local participating Walgreens location. UPS packages can be received at a local UPS Store, CVS or Michael’s stores. You can also arrange to have them delivered on a day when you are home.
Let the delivery person inside
Get a smart lock. Smart locks allow you to unlock your door from your smartphone or computer, no matter where you are. You can instruct delivery people on where to drop the packages and then lock up after they leave. Pair your smart lock with a doorbell camera or other video surveillance to make sure you're not opening your door to a stranger.
Smart locks range in price from $100-$300, which is worth it if your family is safe and happy.
Have packages delivered to your garage or car
Key by Amazon allows Amazon Prime members to have their packages left in their home, garage or even their cars.
Download the app to have your items shipped to your car within hours. Check the app or website to see if your product, vehicle and address of the vehicle are eligible for delivery. Pick a delivery time and you’re set. You will receive notification of when your package is out for delivery and when the driver is in route.
According to the Amazon website, “Key In-Car Delivery is available with select makes and models. It is available with model year 2015 and newer Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC and Volvo vehicles and requires an active connected car service plan, such as OnStar and On Call.”
Key In-Car Delivery is available on tens of millions of Amazon items and works with Same-Day, One-Day, Two-Day and Standard Shipping. They cannot deliver heavy or bulky items weighing more than 50 pounds.
Track your packages
If high-tech gadgets aren’t your thing, simply use your low-tech skills to track your packages. UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, Amazon and FedEx all offer tracking online. Sign up for USPS Informed Delivery to automatically get a daily email containing scans of the mail being delivered and tracking numbers of expected packages.
UPS offers the My Choice program. and FedEx’s Delivery Manager also helps keep track of deliveries. Tracking information for Amazon packages can be found in your order details.