Online shopping’s rise has turned home package deliveries into a year-round occurrence rather than the holiday tradition it was in years past. More than half (59%) of the respondents in C + R Research’s 2020 Package Theft Statistics Report said they receive a package on a weekly basis—a 10 percentage point increase from the year before.
Unfortunately, thieves are well aware of this spike and are at the ready to swipe your deliveries from your front door at any moment. The number of C +R Research respondents who reported a stolen package went up from 36% in 2019 to 43% last year. Additionally, 64% of those who reported a theft said in happened on multiple occasions.
Hopefully, you will never experience a package theft. It’s good to be prepared in the event that you are, however. Keep reading to see what you should do if your packages are stolen.
3 steps to take if your packages are stolen
Step 1: Make sure your packages were actually taken
It’s tempting to think the worst if you get a “delivered” notification and your packages are nowhere to be found. Make sure you do the following before you assume you were a victim of theft:
- Confirm the delivery with the sending company—premature notifications do happen.
- Make sure that your family members, roommates, etc. didn’t already grab the package.
- Touch base with your neighbors—packages can be delivered to the wrong house accidentally.
Step 2: Alert the proper parties that your packages were stolen
You’ve confirmed your packages were taken, not lost. Now it’s time to act. Here’s who you should alert of the theft:
- The delivery company: Whether your FedEx, Amazon, UPS, or United States Postal Service (USPS) package was stolen, let the appropriate party know. These larger delivery companies are prepared for these situations and have claim sites dedicated to help you recover your package:
- The sending company: Be sure to alert the company that you purchased your package(s) from. The resolution may vary depending on the company’s size and financial situation. Larger companies might send you a replacement or reimburse you for your stolen item(s). The sender might have insured your package, in which case they could submit a claim. UPS for example is liable for lost or damaged packages up to $100.
- The police: There are no guarantees that the authorities will recover your stolen goods. It does not hurt to put the theft on the record though. A report is good for your neighborhood because the police will be on the lookout for future thefts. Plus, from an individual standpoint, a police report might be necessary if you decide to file a claim.
Step 3: If necessary, file a claim
Some retailers won’t be as quick to offer a replacement or reimburse you for your stolen items. You will have to file a complaint in this instance. The claim process buys the retailer a few days to ensure your package was actually stolen rather than delayed or lost.
You can also file a claim with your shipping company. UPS, DHL, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service allow you to file a claim for your stolen item online or over the phone.
How to prevent your packages from being stolen
It’s good to know what you should do if your packages are stolen off of your porch. It’s even better if they are not stolen in the first place. Here’s what you can do to prevent future package thefts:
Purchase a monitoring system
There’s no shortage of ways to keep an eye on the front of your house these days. Equipment capabilities vary, but cameras can now monitor and record while some can detect when a package is present. Putting a camera in plain view is also a good way to discourage thieves from approaching your property in the first place.
Give your delivery service special instructions
You can tell some services where to put your packages if you’re not home, whether it’s at the back or garage door, with a building employee or even with a neighbor. You could also request your items be sent to a retailer’s physical store for you to pick up later.
Keeping a package off of your porch altogether is a great way to guarantee it’s not stolen. Add “signature required” to your delivery instructions to guarantee your goods are put in someone’s hands. The downside to this is someone has to be home to sign for it.
Grant Amazon “inside” access
If you’re trusting and an Amazon Prime member in certain areas, you could sign up for Amazon Key, according to Consumer Reports. This service lets you give an Amazon delivery person access to your home. Amazon Key delivery has been limited to customers’ garages since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The service would require additional equipment (Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Hub), however. Users would pair the Internet-connected device with their garage door motor, so the Amazon delivery person could open and close the garage door through their smartphone and leave the package inside.
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