‘Tis the season for ‘porch pirates’, how to protect your packages from thieves

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. --  As people figure out the best Cyber Monday deals, shipping companies are reminding shoppers: Beware, your packages could fall into the wrong hands.

Now through the end of December, shipping companies expect to deliver just under 2 billion packages.

FOX43 has already seen porch pirates in action, stealing not only people's gifts but also their peace of mind.

The Garcia say they were just four minutes away from their home in Adams County when their security camera alerted them of a strange man taking off with three of their packages and all of their mail!

"This time of year, we're all ordering online; it's how a lot of people are buying. We just need to be smarter and realize, it makes it more convenient for us, it also gives those with bad intentions more opportunity as well," said Chief Daniel Stump of Springettsbury Township in regards to porch pirates.

The United States Postal Service will deliver an estimated 400 million packages, and that's just in the two weeks leading up to Christmas.'

"They're buying stuff off Amazon a lot. Sometimes, it's expensive. Sometimes it's not, but it's important to them," said Logan Kerr, a shopper at Tanger Outlets in Lancaster County.

We asked shoppers what they know about porch pirates or front porch shoppers.

"...Like a pirate decoration?!" asked Kerr.

"I have a wrap around porch, and I don't know what that means," said Jack Kelly, a shopper.

"I have no idea. Somebody who sits on their porch?!" said Marianne Garfield, a shopper.

"Like somebody comes up to your house and steals your stuff!" added Kerr.

Bingo... so how can people protect their stuff?

"The best thing you can do is educate yourself on what your ordering and how it's being delivered, you know, track your packages," added Chief Stump.

If you won't be home when your package arrives, shipping companies say have it sent to your workplace or to a neighbor you trust.

You can also request shippers deliver your package to the back or side doors, but the easiest way to keep your cash, checks, and other expensive items safe?

"Obviously, the best way to deliver something of value with money or anything, is person to person," said Chief Stump.

Now, you can keep track of your packages at the touch of your fingertips and without spending a penny.

Informed delivery allows you to leave specific delivery instructions, to track your package, and receive alerts right to your mobile device.

Postal inspectors say never leave delivered mail or packages unattended -- just as a person would not leave a wallet or purse on the front seat of an unlocked car overnight, mail and packages shouldn't be sitting outside on your front porch for an extended period of time.

Going out of town? They say have your mail held at your local Post Office.

When shipping packages, you can choose the Hold for Pickup option, and the recipients can collect their packages at their local Post Office. If you are expecting a package, you can redirect it to your local Post Office by selecting Hold for Pickup using Intercept a Package under Track & Manage on usps.com.

Signature Confirmation helps ensure the package ends up in the right hands by requiring a signature at the time of delivery.

For more tips, click here. 

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