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What to Do If Your Package Is Stolen—And How to Prevent It from Happening Again 

Mar 13, 2024|

Shopping online has become a regular part of our lives—it’s convenient and saves time. But there’s a downside: the rise in package theft, or as many call it, porch piracy.

It’s a growing issue in the U.S., with 26% of American consumers having had a package stolen and 49% worried that their online orders will be stolen, according to the Chamber of Commerce. In fact, the number of stolen packages in the past year ranged from 100 to 250 million, worth about $6 to $20 billion.

If you’ve been lucky enough to avoid having a package stolen, that’s great. But for those who’ve faced this issue, don’t worry. We offer some straightforward steps you can take to deal with it and ways to lower the chances of it happening again.

Packages on a front porch.

What to do if your package is missing

So, your order hasn’t shown up, and you’re wondering what to do next. It’s a common problem, but there are a few key steps you can take to track it down or sort things out.

Check the order confirmation and tracking information

Did you get an email saying your package was delivered? Those emails often have tracking numbers that direct you to the delivery service’s website. Going directly to the delivery’s website, like FedEx or UPS, can provide you with the most accurate information.

If you didn’t get an email with tracking information, check your spam mailbox or log into your account on the website you ordered from. If the package is coming from a person, you could also contact them and ask them if they saved the tracking info.

You should also check the order confirmation email to make sure the package was sent to the correct shipping address. It’s easy to accidentally enter the wrong address, especially if you have an Amazon package and multiple addresses on the account.

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Check to make sure it’s actually missing

It’s not uncommon for a delivery company to misdeliver a package or put it somewhere you weren’t exactly expecting. A few things you can do to check include:

  • Look around your front porch. Check the bushes or the side of the steps to see that the package didn’t fall off the porch or was placed on the ground instead of by your front door.
  • Check the mailbox. Depending on the carrier, smaller packages might be put directly in your mailbox rather than on your doorstep. For example, USPS often places packages in mailboxes or neighborhood lock boxes.
  • Don’t forget unexpected places. Sometimes, a carrier will take steps to protect your packages from porch theft and will place the package in an unexpected area. If your garage door was open at the time of package delivery, check the inside of your garage. Also, look behind pots, trees, or other areas in your front yard.
  • Ask the neighbors. Your lost package may have been delivered to the wrong address nearby. Ask your neighbors if they got something addressed to you.

Contact the sender or retailer

If your package has been marked delivered but is still nowhere to be seen or found, your next step is to contact the sender or retailer you purchased from.

While each company handles missing deliveries differently, most offer some kind of purchase protection and will either arrange for a replacement to be sent or handle reimbursement of the missing item. Some may require you to complete a lost package claim form online.

If it’s a package from a family member or someone other than a retailer, like a third-party seller on Amazon, contact them directly. They’ll reach out to the shipping company or postal service to track the missing package or get refunded if they have insurance.

How to prevent porch pirates and package theft

Get in touch with your credit card company

If your package still hasn’t turned up, consider calling your credit card company. A lot of credit cards have purchase protection, which can really help out in situations like this. They might be able to sort out a refund for you or talk to the retailer on your behalf.

This step is especially handy if you’ve bought something expensive and it goes missing. It’s an extra safety net for your purchases.

File a homeowners or renters insurance claim and police report

Some homeowners or renters insurance policies also cover stolen packages, subject to the policy’s deductible. In that case, you’ll need to file a police report.

Calling the police is also a good idea when you have proof that someone stole the package, such as security camera or doorbell camera footage. This can help the authorities identify the thief.

Contacting the police can also let them know there’s a porch pirate in your area, and they may increase their patrols as a result.

Woman watching her doorbell camera footage from the Vivint app.

How to prevent porch pirates and package theft

Of course, the best thing you can do is prevent package theft before it happens. We’ll explain how.

Always get a tracking number

Always hang onto your tracking number from the shipper or retailer—it’s your best tool for keeping track of where your package is. Companies like FedEx, USPS, and Amazon give you this number so you can see every step of your package’s journey.

If your package takes a weird route or stops moving, you’ll be the first to spot it. And if it goes missing, this info is super helpful for tracking it down or sorting things out with the delivery service.

Require a signature

One way to stop porch pirates in their tracks? Make them sign for your package. If you choose this option, the delivery driver will only drop off your package when someone’s there to sign for it.

Being home for deliveries can be a bit of a hassle, but it’s a good trade-off if it keeps your stuff safe.

Consider using lockboxes or P.O. boxes

Think about using a lockbox, an Amazon locker, or even a P.O. box at your local post office for your deliveries. This way, your packages aren’t just sitting out in the open. They’re locked up tight until you’re ready to pick them up. It’s a safe move, especially if you’re ordering something pricey or not home a lot.

Install a home security system with surveillance cameras

Upping your home security can also help prevent porch theft and increase your home’s security overall. Vivint provides a wide range of home security cameras and devices that can help keep your home and your deliveries safe, including:

  • Doorbell cameras. With a video doorbell, you can answer the door remotely and speak to the person at your door. Vivint’s Doorbell Camera Pro also proactively prevents package theft, thanks to Smart Deter technology that identifies lurkers, then plays a sound and illuminates a bright LED ring, letting them know they’ve been caught on camera. You’ll also receive notifications on your phone if a package is delivered, so you can ask your neighbors or anyone at home to pick it up before it gets stolen.
  • Outdoor cameras. The Outdoor Camera Pro features the same Smart Deter feature to let lurkers on your property know they’ve been spotted. With night vision, a wide-angle view, and 3X HD zoom, you can also get a closer look at faces, cars, and license plates on your property.
  • Smart lighting. Burglars and package thieves like dark areas, so they can get in and get out without being seen. Smart lighting with person detectors that will illuminate your front porch helps enhance your home’s security.

Keep your deliveries safe with Vivint

In an age where e-commerce and online shopping are integral to our lifestyle, it’s important to address the issue of package theft.

You can effectively combat porch piracy by taking proactive steps and using available resources like tracking information, secure delivery options, and advanced home security systems. Protecting your packages allows you to enjoy the convenience of e-commerce without worrying about theft.

With these simple tips—and a home security system from Vivint—you can keep your packages safe and sound. To learn more about how a Vivint system can help keep your home safe, give us a call today at 855.822.1220.

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