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

Aug 18, 2022|

If you’re like most people, online shopping has become a way of life. This is especially true after the pandemic, when stores and businesses were closed and people became more accustomed to online shopping. In fact, the average person receives 21 packages a year, and even more if they’re an Amazon Prime member.

While online shopping is convenient, it also comes with some risks. Package theft is a growing problem in the United States, and one survey found that 64% of people have had at least one package stolen from their porches within the past year, and 53% have had multiple packages stolen. (This number also goes up during the holiday season or for people who have Amazon Prime.)

If you haven’t had a stolen Amazon package, consider yourself lucky. But if you have, it doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. These steps will help you know what to do when a package is missing.

Packages on a front porch.

What to do if your package is missing

Check the order confirmation and tracking information

Did you get an email saying your package was delivered? Those emails often have tracking numbers that will direct you to the delivery service’s website. Going directly to the delivery’s website, like FedEx or UPS, will 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 a wrong address, especially if you have an Amazon order and multiple addresses on the account.

Check to make sure it’s actually missing

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

  • Look around your 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 right on your porch.
  • Check the mailbox. Depending on the carrier, smaller packages might be put directly in your mailbox rather than 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, check the garage. Also, look behind pots, trees, or other areas in your front yard.
  • Ask the neighbors. Your package may have been delivered to the wrong address. Ask your neighbors if they got something addressed to you. Or, if you have a neighborhood Facebook page or other site, post a message on there.

Let’s be neighbors.

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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.

If it’s a package from a family member or someone other than a retailer, you should contact them directly. They will reach out to the delivery company or postal service to track the missing package or get refunded if they have insurance.

File a homeowners insurance claim and police report

Some homeowners insurance policies also cover stolen packages, assuming they are over a certain amount of money. In that case, you will also need to file a police report.

Calling the police is a good idea as well when you have proof the package was actually stolen, such as security camera or doorbell camera footage. This will help them identify the thief. Contacting the police will also let them know there is a porch pirate in your area, and they may increase their patrols in your area as a result.

How to prevent porch pirates and package theft

Of course, the best thing you can do is prevent package theft before it happens. Here’s how:

Always get a tracking number

Make sure the shipper or retailer you purchased your item from provides a tracking number, and save it for reference. This makes it easier for your carrier to track down your package and easier to file a claim.

Require a signature

By requiring a signature upon delivery, the delivery company will not be able to deliver the package unless someone at the home signs for it. This can be inconvenient if you don’t plan on being home all day, but it is a good way to ensure your package won’t end up in the hands of package thieves.

Consider using lockboxes or PO boxes

Another way to help prevent package theft is to have your packages delivered to a different location, such as an Amazon locker or a PO Box. This way, your package delivery is put straight into a secured box that you can unlock and retrieve later. You can open a PO Box at your local post office. While this isn’t as convenient as having your deliveries sent to your home, it can cut down on missing mail.

Install a home security system with surveillance cameras

Upping your home security will 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 doorbell camera, 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 spotted. You’ll also receive notifications on your phone if a package is delivered, so you can ask your neighbors or anyone at home to go 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, 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 motion detectors that will illuminate your front porch helps enhance your home’s security.
Woman watching her doorbell camera footage from the Vivint app.

Vivint also includes professional installation, so you can be sure your system is running properly, and 24/7 monitoring that ensures your home is protected around the clock.

Online shopping is meant to make life easier, and package thieves don’t have to ruin that for you. With these simple tips—and home security from Vivint—you can keep your packages safe and sound.

To learn more about how a Vivint system can help keep your home safe, call us at 855.822.1220 for a free consultation today.

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