Spending

'The best way to foil porch pirates' and keep your holiday packages safe, from a Better Business Bureau expert

"Consumers are navigating a 'one-two punch' of inflation and supply chain concerns."

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Online sales this holiday season are expected to total a record-breaking $207 billion, Adobe forecasts.  Unfortunately, more deliveries heightens the risk of losing an item to porch pirates, or people who steal packages from other people's homes. Over the last year, around 210 million packages disappeared from porches across America, according to a survey from home security and safety company SafeWise and Cove Home Security of 1,000 Americans.

It isn't even Black Friday yet and shoppers are already getting more goods delivered than last year. "As consumers are navigating a 'one-two punch' of inflation and supply chain concerns, they've already spent almost 20% more, year over year," Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights said in a statement Wednesday.

Eight in 10 consumers are concerned about their packages being stolen, according to a survey from data verification and geocoding company Loqate of 1,000 Americans. Rightfully so: Last year, 43% of Americans said they were victims of porch piracy, with the average cost of a stolen package valued at $136, according to C+R research.

Package theft could be especially painful for shoppers this year, since supply chain constraints are reducing inventory of popular gift items and added to retailers' shipping timelines. A missed gift might not be replaceable in time for the holidays. "The best way to foil porch pirates is to make sure packages are not left unattended in the first place," says Katherine Hutt, the Better Business Bureau's national spokeswoman. 

6 tips to help prevent package theft

To keep your packages safe, Hutt recommends taking the following precautions:

  1. Track your shipments.
  2. Ask a neighbor to receive your packages if you won't be home.
  3. Pick up packages at the shipper's facility, or at a locker location.
  4. Ask your employer if you can receive deliveries at work.
  5. If you have a home security system, make sure it monitors the mailbox and front door.
  6. When ordering something valuable, such as electronics, secure the delivery with signature confirmation.

If your home security system happens to catch a porch pirate stealing a package, "save the video and alert your local postal inspector or the police," Hutt suggests.

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