How to Protect Your Packages From “Porch Hackers” This Holiday Season

MOBILE, Alabama (WKRG) – Nothing is more stressful than receiving a notification that your package has arrived, only to find out that it has been slipped at your door. This is especially difficult if it is a gift from a loved one that you have been waiting for for weeks.

Delays in delivery did not help matters. Problems within national supply chains have left a backlog of container ships, making it difficult to get an item before Christmas, let alone order another before a major holiday.

So what can you do to prevent this from happening to you?

Local law enforcement has provided possible solutions to prevent the “porch hackers” from stealing your packages.

Have your parcels delivered elsewhere than at home

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office (ESCO) in Alabama advises residents to send your packages to a local post office, where they can be held for pickup. While it may take longer in your day, it does reduce the risk of you having your package stolen. You can also send the package to a friend or relative who will be home to keep an eye on the package, according to an ESCO Facebook post.

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office (SRCSO) suggests shoppers use the “ship to store” option, which can be held for pickup. Most stores also allow you to schedule your order, so that you can decide when you want to pick up your package.

Unfortunately, some stores and websites only ship items by delivery, and if you need to deliver your package to your home, there are other ways to protect your package.

Make it harder to find your packages – and easier for criminals to get caught

The SRCSO suggests that residents request a signature confirmation. When you request a signature confirmation, the carrier can only deliver the package after the signature has been signed by the resident. In most cases, the carrier returns at another time to deliver the package.

Both law enforcement agencies are urging residents to include delivery instructions for the carrier. Some websites offer a delivery instruction section so residents can leave specific instructions on where they want their package to be placed. Carriers can place the package on the side of the house or somewhere out of sight, reducing the risk of it being stolen at your front door.

ESCO recommends installing security cameras so you can see who at your front door. While this is a more expensive option, video can be used to see when your package was delivered and, if it was stolen, who removed it from your porch.

What if your package is stolen?

Talk to your neighbors and notify local law enforcement. Chances are, you weren’t the only person targeted by the “porch pirates”.

Contact the website where you ordered your package. Depending on the company’s customer service policies, they may be able to issue a refund or resend you another package for free.

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