In today’s world, there is guaranteed to be an increase in packages stolen from your doorstep. Porch Pirates will closely follow a delivery truck and take the merchandise as soon as the driver is out of sight. A report from August Home Inc. found nearly 11 million U.S. homeowners have had a package stolen within the past year.
More and more holiday shipping is conducted each year online. Nearly 70 percent of homeowners expect to receive packages this holiday season, with 3 of 5 consumers receiving more packages during this time than any other time during the year. How do you keep your packages safe, and what if you are the victim of a porch pirate?
What Happens If My Packages Are Stolen?
If your package was successfully delivered and then stolen from your porch, you have a couple of options.
You can file a mail theft complaint with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for USPS deliveries. USPS will start your claims process. If your package came through another carrier, contact the sender of the package to initiate a trace process with UPS or FedEx. The sender will then follow up with you on the progress of your shipment.
If your packages are stolen, follow these steps to address the situation:
- Confirm It Was Delivered: Before jumping to conclusions, first confirm that the package was actually delivered by UPS. You can track the package using the tracking number provided to you. It will show the delivery date, time, and sometimes even a picture of where it was left.
- Check with Neighbors and Other Household Members: Sometimes, a neighbor may have taken your package for safekeeping, or another household member might have brought it inside without telling you.
- Contact the Carrier: If you’re sure the package was delivered and is missing, contact carrier customer service. They might be able to provide additional details on the delivery.
- File a Claim with the Carrier: If the carrier confirms the delivery and you haven’t received your package, you can file a claim. This is especially relevant if the package was insured. You’ll need to provide details like the tracking number, description of the contents, and value.
- Contact the Seller: If you purchased an item online and it was stolen after being delivered, contact the seller. Some retailers may send a replacement or refund the purchase, especially if they have a policy to protect against theft. However, this is at the discretion of the seller.
- File a Police Report: For expensive items or if you notice a pattern of package thefts, consider reporting it to the police. They may not always be able to recover the stolen package, but having a record can be helpful for insurance or other claims.
- Check Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance: Depending on the value of the stolen item and your deductible, it may be worth checking to see if your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will cover the loss.
Reach out to your local police department to notify them of the theft. Many credit card companies, including American Express, offer protection for members who charge a covered purchase that ends up being stolen. The coverage is limited, so check with your credit card company for specifics.
How to Prevent Package Theft
1. Security Cameras
What Happens If My Packages Are Stolen? Get a camera! There are many security cameras on the market, like Ring Video Doorbell. This sends instant alerts when anyone presses your doorbell or triggers its built-in motion sensors. With Ring’s two-way talk, you can tell your courier where to hide your packages or warn pirates they’re on camera.
The footage taken with a security camera could provide evidence of the theft. As a member of my neighborhood NextDoor.com site, I have seen neighbors posting clips of package theft taken from their Ring doorbell.
2. UPS Access Point Delivery
The UPS Access Point network offers package pickup and drops off primarily at thousands of local businesses such as neighborhood convenience, supermarkets, dry cleaners, and the like. All 4,400 UPS Store locations across the country are part of the network.
In order to retrieve your packages, present a government-issued photo ID where the last name and full address on the ID match that on the box. If the address on the ID doesn’t match the address on the package, bring proof of residency that matches the address on the package (like a current utility bill).
If the last name or full address doesn’t match, you must provide the package tracking number to the UPS Access Point representative. or your shipper-provided package release code. With UPS access delivery point, you will never ask the question, What Happens If My Packages are Stolen?
3. Amazon Locker
Amazon.com also offers an alternative to home delivery. Instead of adding a shipping address at checkout, designate delivery to an Amazon Locker. This is a self-service kiosk that allows you to pick up the package at a later time. Once your package is delivered to the Amazon Locker, you’ll receive an e-mail notification with a unique pickup code that includes the address and opening times for your selected Locker location. All packages delivered to Amazon Locker locations must be picked up within three business days.
UPS My Choice is a free service that gives the receiver more control over deliveries. Read more about this.
How can Shippers Reduce or Lessen Losses?
Declared Value Coverage (Shipping Insurance)
FedEx, UPS, and USPS all offer additional declared value coverage, with the first two carriers providing up to $100 of free coverage included with ground and express services. As a shipper, you can investigate other insurance options if you want to reduce the cost of additional coverage. U-Pic is a shipping insurance company offering coverage for shipments sent worldwide by major shipping carriers. Shippers of all sizes can save up to 85% on shipping and parcel insurance. UPS, FedEx, USPS, and DHL coverage is available.
Shipping Insurance Best Practices
The best practice for filing a claim is to provide all required documents when the claim has been filed. To name a few more specific best practices if you are asking the question, What Happens If My Packages are Stolen?:
- Always submit the buyer’s statement of loss/damage AND the invoice at the time the claim is filed.
- If the claim is for a damaged item, make sure either the shipper or recipient holds onto the package until the claim is resolved.