How to Prevent Stolen Packages from Your Home

How many people deal with stolen packages each day? More than you can believe.

According to a survey from LendingTree’s ValuePenguin, more than one-third of Americans have had a package stolen from their front step or mailbox.

Of those having to deal with missing packages, most (62%) live in single family homes.

Stolen packages tend to spike during the holiday shopping season. So-called porch pirates know this is the time of year for prime pickings.

Honestly, it’s disgusting.

That’s why I’ve decided to tackle this topic.

How to prevent stolen packages from your home

I want to share with you what companies like Amazon will or will not do when you report a package stolen or not delivered.

Also, I want to let you know how effective (or ineffective) camera doorbells can be in protection packages left at your door or on the porch.

In addition, I’ve got advice on what to do if you discover you’ve had a package stolen.

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Finally, I’ve got some tips to avoid worrying about stolen packages.

Will store replace stolen packages

According to that survey from LendingTree’s ValuePenguin, nearly one-quarter of packages stolen are taken from apartment buildings.

This has been true for my younger daughter.

She lives in an apartment building in Pittsburgh where, unfortunately, Amazon and other packages are left on the front steps.

Sure, the Amazon driver texts a picture of the package to her when they leave it.

But if she’s not home, there’s no guarantee that either her neighbors will bring it in or a porch pirate won’t walk by and walk off with it.

In fact, recently this is exactly what happened.

And you know what? Amazon was great about replacing her package.

We’ve never had a problem with other companies leaving packages that get stolen.

That’s because she uses GoPuff to have other deliveries done. GoPuff has been a life saver for ensuring orders get to their final destination.

Video doorbells don’t always prevent stolen packages

According to that same survey, six in 10 people who had packages stolen from their doorstep had some sort of security system set up.

However, it’s not clear if this security system was a video doorbell.

In my opinion, if you want to set up a video doorbell to protect deliveries, get one where you can talk to the person through it.

That way if you see someone up to no good, you can say something and hopefully scare them off.

Which video doorbells let you talk through them? Consider these brands.

I reviewed Simplisafe here.

What to do if a package is stolen

Your first line of defense with a stolen package is to contact the company that sent it.

Like I said, when my daughter’s Amazon package went missing from her apartment building, she reached out to Amazon. They sent a replacement.

Another option if it’s not Amazon (which usually uses its own drivers) is to contact the shipper, be it UPS or USPS or FedEx. 

Also, if the company that shipped you the now-missing package isn’t being helpful, consider reaching out to your credit card company.

Then you can dispute the charge and, hopefully, won’t have to pay for it.

Finally, if the item you ordered was expensive and would cost more to replace than your homeowners insurance deductible, then you might want to report it to your insurance company.

How to avoid having packages stolen

You may not like hearing this advice, but here is the best way, I believe, to avoid having packages stolen: don’t have them delivered to your home.

Yeah, I know, we have gotten so used to the convenience of having boxes dropped on our doorsteps. I get it–I really do.

However, if you live somewhere where these porch pirates are a real threat, you need to not have packages on your porch. Ever.

So, what options do you have? Read on for some tips

Use an Amazon Locker near you

If you’re a big Amazon shopper, start have your packages delivered to a nearby Amazon locker.

Technically, these are called Amazon Hub Lockers.

How do you find one near you? This page on the Amazon website explains how to find a locker near you.

Sure, there are Amazon Lockers in big box stores like Staples and also at Whole Foods–because, you know, Amazon owns Whole Foods.

picture of amazon locker

However, you may be surprised at the options if you don’t live near shopping hubs. 

For example, I live in a fairly rural area in Western Pennsylvania.

I have to drive at least 30 minutes to shop at Aldi, Target or Petco.

When I searched for an Amazon Hub Locker near me, I found four near me–all closer than 8 miles away.

One was just a few blocks away at a local pharmacy–we’re talking walking distance.

The other places near me with Amazon Lockers ranged from a comic book shop to a convenience store.

Can anyone use an Amazon Locker

Believe it or not, you don’t have to be an Amazon Prime Member to use one of their lockers.

I thought for sure they would reserve this convenience for paying members only.

Nope. I’m so glad I was wrong about that.

So, if you shop on Amazon and don’t pay for Prime–which means you likely are paying for shipping already–you can just have your packages shipped securely to an Amazon Locker.

Then, once your package arrives, you’ll have three days to pick it up.

How to pick up a package at an Amazon Locker

Amazon says that there are usually two ways to pick up a package at an Amazon Locker.

One, you’ll need a six-digit code and barcode to scan; both will arrive in an email confirmation of your delivery.

Two, the locker requires a Smartphone with the Amazon shopping app on it.

You’ll know this when you choose which locker to use for your pickup.

Anyway, then the steps to pick up via the app will be similar to those in the first option.

Finally, in the first situation, you can have someone else pick up a package for you.

All you need to do is forward the email confirmation to them with the six-digit code and barcode. Then, they can use that to get your package.

When you have to enter a code and scan a barcode to get into a locker, no one is going to be stealing your packages.

Choose shop online and pick up in store

As I wrote in this article about stores that let you shop online and pick up in store, there are so many retailers offering this option today.

While there’s not a lot of positives that came out of 2020, this added convenience for shopping is definitely one of them.

Also, many of the retailers offer drive up options, just as you would for picking up groceries at stores like Walmart. 

I’m a big fan of Target Drive Up and use it nearly every time I buy something at Target.

However, many other major brands and retailers let you drive up.

I’ve seen drive up parking spots at retailers ranging from Staples to Nordstrom to Best Buy to Rite Aid.

picture of order pickup sign at store

Again, I realize that having to drive somewhere to pick up your purchase is not convenient. But it pretty much ensures no more stolen packages.

If you’d like to read the whole LendingTree ValuePenguin survey on porch pirates and stolen packages, here is a link.

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