When ordering last-minute gifts, online shoppers should beware of those seeking to steal more than their joy this holiday season. Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (BBB) offers the following information to stop ‘porch pirates’, people stealing packages from unsuspecting homeowners, this year.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) delivered approximately 800 million package deliveries between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day in 2019, and is expected to exceed that number in 2020. With the abundance of doorstep deliveries, front porches become a gold mine for thieves who are combing neighborhoods to steal people’s packages.
“Online shopping has become more popular in recent years, but the pandemic has made it 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 products.”
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.
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 personalization do vary by delivery service.
Use your credit card. When making purchases online, always use a 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.
To help warn others if you or someone you know has been affected by stolen packages, report it to BBB Scam Tracker.