Fighting Package Thieves
HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer
Online purchasing continues to grow dramatically in the U. S., accounting for a large percentage of the estimated 6 billion packages delivered every year. Along with the increase of online shopping and package delivery, there is an increase of package thievery, sometimes called “Porch Piracy.” “Nextdoor,” a message board application with millions of subscribers reports a 36% increase in messages complaining of porch piracy this holiday shopping season.
Porch piracy is a cinch. Thieves can follow delivery trucks from place to place, picking up delivered packages as they go, or simply cruise neighborhoods looks for delivered packages that still haven’t been retrieved by their recipients.
How can a person thwart porch pirate this and every other season? There are some methods, shown here in no particular order of importance.
First, webcams can be effective. Even a fake webcam can discourage at least some thieves, though it won’t catch those daring enough or oblivious enough to steal anyway. Real webcams can discourage some, catch others, prove theft even when thieves aren’t caught and prove a package’s misdelivery to the retailer/shipping company.
Secondly, sign up for smartphone delivery alerts that will tell you when packages are delivered. When notified, you can have some available someone pick it up and keep it in a safe place until you arrive home.
Third, friendly neighbors come in mighty handy even without a delivery alert. If you’re on friendly terms with a neighbor and ask him/her to keep an eye out for a package’s delivery, the neighbor can pick it up and store it until you arrive.
Fourth, virtual neighbors like those on Nextdoor can also be handy, notifying you of your package’s arrival and/or that someone has taken it.
Fifth, digital lockboxes such as uCella, allow you to track, receive, protect and even return packages using your unique master QR code. An explanation of how digital lockboxes such as uCella work is available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JABxvcXsISY
Sixth, you can purchase concierge service such as “UPS My Choice” or “doorman.co” that will allow you to track and redirect delivery of packages to convenient locations.
Finally, your online retailer can arrange delivery to local stores near you, allowing you to pick up the package at your convenience.
With all the low tech and high tech methods available to online purchasers, thwarting porch pirate should be child’s play.
DO’S AND DON’TS
DON’T go through another season without taking steps to thwart porch pirates.
DO use a webcam, even if it is a fake one, aimed at the point of delivery.
DO sign up for smartphone delivery alerts that will tell you when packages are delivered.
DO notify a friendly neighbor of when a package is supposed to be delivered, so he/she can retrieve and store the package.
DO use virtual neighbors such as those on Nextdoor.
DO use a digital lockbox such as uCella, which is explained on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JABxvcXsISY
DO purchase concierge service such as “UPS My Choice” or “doorman.co” that will allow you to track and redirect delivery of packages to convenient locations.
DO arrange with online retailers to deliver packages to local stores, if possible.
By Kathy Catanzarite
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.
CRIMINAL LAW DOS AND DON'TS