How to prevent porch pirates from ruining your Christmas

Porch pirate steals packages at home's front door

Santa Claus may come down your chimney, but these days thieves walk right up to your doorstep and steal your packages.

Tens of thousands now disappear every year in what has become the season for for porch pirates.

But there are some simple ways to protect your deliveries.

Brandon Hagedorn tries to grab his packages as soon as they arrive nowadays, because he’s had several stolen over the years.

“A couple of years ago,” he said, ” we had a few back to back to back leading right into Christmas time.”

Nick Wolny, Senior Editor at the tech site CNET, says consumers are expected to ship a whopping $74 billion dollars worth of packages.

That’s an average of $287 per person, often left outside unattended for hours.

“The moment that delivery driver drops the package off on your doorstep,” he said, “the seller’s responsibility is done.”

Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Porch Pirates

So how do you prevent someone from grabbing your packages before you get a chance?

“If you wanna mitigate porch theft,” Wolny said, “you can cut out the porch part altogether.”

Wolny suggests having your package delivered to:

  • Your office
  • A UPS or FedEx location, or
  • An Amazon locker. There are now thousands nationwide, often outside convenience stores.

If you do choose delivery to your home, take advantage of tracking technology to time the delivery.
Then ask your neighbor to bring the box inside, as Jerome Matthews does.

“Usually I have them delivered at home and try to have someone watch out for it,” he said.

What to Do If Your Delivery Is Stolen

But what if thieves do pick your porch?

You can request a refund or replacement.

“For some of the larger sellers, it is less time and effort and money on their part to just send you a replacement item,” Wolny said.

If that’s rejected, and it is a large item like an iPad or PS5, you can submit a claim to your home or renters insurance.

That process will be easier if you have a doorbell camera.

“If you plan to be away from home, be sure to have that 24/7 footage recording,” Wolny said.

That way you can submit the theft to police and your insurance, and you don’t waste your money.

By John Matarese, WCPO

About the Author

John Matarese

John's goal is to help as many TV viewers as possible save money, avoid bad deals, know a rip-off when one comes their way, and be educated consumers. His informative weekly consumer segment "Don't Waste Your Money" now airs on 45 TV stations from San Diego to Tampa to Houston and Cincinnati. More.

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