According to Business Insider, retailers lose more than $45 billion annually to theft. That figure includes the more than 25.9 million packages stolen from doorsteps in 2017.
It is not only the loss to consider, but also the inconvenience of having to watch for another package to be delivered. And, as the holidays approach, delivery times begin to take longer and longer. This may result in your missing out in your item even arriving in time.
I’ve seen this happen time and again in our small town. Many times, these people are caught on camera (thank you RING). But, sadly, most of the time the thieves are never caught.
Theft rises during November and December but still happens all year long. If you need to place an online order, there are some things you may want to to do reduce the chance that your packages will be stolen.
TIPS TO PREVENT PACKAGE THEFT
REQUIRE PACKAGE SIGNATURE
If you have to sign for your items, the packages cannot be left on the doorstep. Instead, a note will be placed there letting you know the date they will try to make another delivery (or where you might be able to pick up the item instead).
DELIVERY TO WORK
If allowed, have all of your items delivered to your place of work. It may be a bit more inconvenient to load up items and take them home. But, at least they will not be stolen.
DELIVERY SERVICE TRACKING
Sign up for delivery service notifications. Both FedEx and UPS offer these services for free. You get an alert when a package is set to be delivered. That way, you can arrange for someone to be home when it will arrive.
If you are a member of UPS My Choice, you can upgrade your service for an annual fee of $40 per year. This will allow you to change the delivery address for any package or even change the delivery date to fit your schedule. That way, it will not be left on your doorstep.
DELIVER TO FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER
If you know someone who is home during the day, you might ask to use their address for delivery. That way, it will not sit on a doorstep and risk being stolen.
If you know your neighbors, you can develop your own neighborhood watch. Help one another out by picking up packages you see outside and drop texts or emails to alert one another what you’ve done. That way, they are safe inside and won’t be grabbed by greedy thieves.
DESIGNATE SPECIFIC DELIVERY LOCATION
The USPS can allow you authorize them to leave packages at locations other than the porch. They could include a back door, side door, neighbor or even a garage. To find out if this is an option, log into your account with USPS and enter your package tracking number. If you can do this, you will be advised that time.
USE AMAZON LOCKER
Amazon Locker is a service where your packages are routed to a locker drop off. Once it is delivered, you are alerted and have 3 days to pick up your package at the designated site.
This is not available in all locations, but they keep adding more every single day! If it is an option where you live, you’ll find it noted at checkout.
USE AMAZON KEY
Amazon key is a relatively new service, but it is a way to have your packages placed in your house or vehicle rather than having them left on the front porch. When your order is ready to be delivered, a code will be released so the driver can open your door and set the packages inside. You will be to monitor the activity directly from your phone.
USE A SECURE MAILBOX SERVICE
Sign up for a P.O. Box at the post office or even a location such as the UPS Store. You can have all packages delivered to these locations. They will be held securely until you stop by and pick them up.
There are fees associated with these services, but it might end up saving you money on those irreplaceable packages that risk being stolen.
This may not actually prevent theft, but should something be stolen, it might assist in finding the guilty parties. Not only that, but you can more easily prove theft to the company.
The simple and affordable way to capture porch activity is to purchase a Ring doorbell (they also sell a security system). You can monitor the activity via your smartphone, no matter where you happen to be. If possible, add a secondary camera that points at the street in hopes of capturing a license plate if needed.
You can also consider using a Package Guard. Packages are placed on top of the device. You get an instant alert via WiFi that you had a delivery. You can then email friends or family and have them take it inside for you. But, if a thief takes it without deactivating the device, an alarm signals, alerting people to their presence. It has served as a great deterrent from people wanting to steal packages.
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOUR PACKAGE IS STOLEN?
Even the best thought out plans may not prevent this from happening to you. If you find that your package has been stolen (meaning, you have delivery confirmation), here is what you need to do:
Retailers build insurance into their prices as they know that this will happen. While most of them will just send out another package, others my require proof that theft has occurred.
- Locate tracking and order information, make sure you also have any delivery confirmation details as well.
- Contact the company to let them know what happened.
- They will instruct you as to what to do next.
If you mailed something to a someone and that package has not arrived, you have recourse as well. The process varies based upon the company used.
You can call 800-ASK-USPS, but in most instances, they will advise you to file a claim online. Make sure you have the tracking number, package description and contents value available. This will not guarantee that your package will end up being located, but if you added insurance, you might be lucky enough to at least get that refunded to you.
Visit the UPS website to file a claim for a lost package. You simply need to enter your tracking number and then you will find that you can file your report directly from there.
They will contact you within 2 weeks to discuss the matter with you. If the package can not be located, you will need to provide them with documentation (such as your receipt or shipment invoice) in order to verify the replacement cost. You will get a reimbursement up to the declared value.
File your claim directly on the FedEx Website. You will need to have proof of value and the tracking number. If the package is worth more than $100, additional information will be required. This includes a pick-up/drop-off record, serial number (if applicable) and receipt of the cost of the contents.
In any case, most issues are resolved within a week after you file the claim.
The only way a claim can be filed through DHL is via the shipper. You must provide documentation before they will investigate any lost claims. this includes a copy of the waybill, contents receipt or invoice and any applicable serial numbers. It can take up to 30 days for the issue to be resolved. Learn more at DHL.
No matter which service delivered your item, you do have a limited window to file a claim. Therefore, make sure you do so as quickly as possible after you notice the package is missing.
You can’t control if someone wants to steal your packages. However, there are steps that you can take to try to minimize the potential of that happening to you.