Take care to guard against parcel theft, online shoppers


Keep an eye out on packages being dropped off, as parcel theft does occur. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

One of the best parts of online shopping is waiting for the package to show up on the porch – it’s practically Christmas for adults. However, there is a risk of parcel theft, as there is a minor but present problem of people snatching parcels off the porch.

Parcel theft reported nationwide

The risk of parcel theft isn’t huge, but certainly extant when one shops online. Numerous reports have emerged in recent years of “porch pirating,” where people steal packages off someone’s porch.

One recent incident occurred in Monterey Park, Calif., according to the Daily Mail. The victim has  security cameras on her front porch, which recorded two packages being delivered on March 8. Two thieves get out of a car, walk right up to her porch and absconded with them.

Similar instances have been reported all over. One such, according to ABC, was by a man in Portland, Ore., who was in his backyard while FedEx dropped off a package in April 2012. When he got to his porch, it was gone. His surveillance camera revealed a thief dashed off with the package within seconds of the FedEx man leaving.

Even delivery men do it

Parcel theft isn’t just reserved for run of the mill thieves; even delivery people cross the line. The Los Angeles Times reported in Dec. 2012 that surveillance cameras at the home of one Al Alverson of Houston, Texas, revealed a FedEx package being stolen by a UPS delivery driver. The footage went viral after he posted it to YouTube.

UPS – of course – first refused to compensate him, saying the driver was a temporary worker, but eventually relented and replaced the item their employee stole. It was an iPad mini for Alverson’s daughter, a Christmas gift.

Way to be a Grinch, UPS.

The problem is definitely widespread; Google “porch pirating” and reports will surface nationwide. Reports can be found all over. Aside from the previous examples, other reports of the activity include areas like Bristol, Va., according to WCYB, that area’s NBC affiliate, Fargo, N.D., according to WDAY, that area;s ABC affiliate and St. Louis, Mo., according to KMOV. You get the general idea – it’s everywhere, in pockets.

What to do

UPS and FedEx don’t keep statistics on parcel theft. The United States Postal Service, according to NBC Los Angeles, reported more than 2,000 mail thefts last year, though that could include mail as well as packages.

Law enforcement everywhere generally agrees the practice is more widespread during the holidays. More people, after all, get packages then because of online shopping and gift deliveries. A common trick for thieves is to follow delivery trucks. When they stop and drop off a package, thieves double-back and grab the parcel. They may keep the item or fence it for a quick payday.

Parcel carriers, such as UPS, FedEx and the USPS, offer package insurance that covers the possibility of theft. The cost of coverage will vary depending on the parcel.

One of the other defenses is to opt to require a signature for delivery or have the package delivered to a UPS or FedEx store for pickup, instead of home delivery.


Daily Mail


Los Angeles Times

WCYB: http://www.wcyb.com/news/Police-Porch-pirates-may-steal-holiday-gifts/-/14590844/17595572/-/141qhxlz/-/index.html

WDAY: http://www.wday.com/event/article/id/55869/

KMOV: http://www.kmov.com/news/local/Porch-pirating-becomes-more-popular-as-holidays-approach-135203983.html

NBC Los Angeles: http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Stealing-Packages-at-Christmas-182638661.html

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