BBB warns consumers about porch pirates

With the popularity and ease of online shopping, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is ready to deliver more than an average of 20.5 million packages per day through the remainder of the year. With a projected 800 million package deliveries between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the Postal Service delivers more packages to homes than any other shipper. With the abundance of doorstep deliveries, front porches become a gold mine for thieves who are combing neighborhoods to steal people’s packages. Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (BBB) is offering tips to help consumers stop porch pirates from ruining the holiday season.

“Ordering gifts online has become the norm and thieves are looking to take advantage this holiday season,” said Mallory Wojciechowski, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern NC. “We always stress buying from safe online sites, but consumers need to be careful throughout the entire shipping and delivery process to ensure they receive their product.”

BBB offers the following tips on receiving online deliveries:

Track your packages. Follow shipments from the seller to your front door with online, text message or phone call tracking offered through the delivery company. Sign up for alerts to be notified of delays or exceptions and when the package has been delivered.

Be available for delivery. Track packages and arrange to be available during estimated delivery times, have a trusted friend or neighbor pick up the packages in a timely manner after delivery or ship to your work address (pending company approval). Package delivery thieves have been known to follow delivery trucks around town, stealing packages immediately after delivery.

Request a signature. This package delivery feature will likely come with a fee, but without a recipient’s signature, the delivery service won’t be able to leave a package exposed on a doorstep.

Personalize delivery. Schedule a certain day and/or time for your package delivery, including evenings and weekends or provide specific instructions on where a package should be placed to keep the delivery hidden from public view. Consumers can also request a package be held at a delivery center or shipped to a retailer’s nearest store location for in-person pickup. Fees for a personalized delivery do vary by delivery service.

Use your credit card. When making purchases online, use your credit card rather than a debit card or another form of payment. Credit card companies are more likely to offer refunds in the event of theft.

Insure valuable items. Purchase delivery insurance to protect merchandise against loss or damage. Contact your local police department if you do become a victim of package theft.

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