weather icon Mostly Cloudy

6 ways to outsmart porch pirates and protect your holiday packages

The porch pirates got me good one holiday season.

I arrived home after a long day at work to find two empty packages on my front stoop. The thermal sweatshirt that was supposed to be a Christmas gift for my dad? Gone. The pricy face cream I bought for myself? Gone. And the townhouse I was living in, which was on a residential street, didn’t have security cameras.

There were plenty of places to tuck the packages out of sight, but the delivery person was either too busy or had done so only to be foiled later by the thieves.

That was years ago. Now I can simply install a smart lock on my front door and have Amazon or Walmart deliver items directly to my living room. Thieves can’t steal your packages if there’s nothing on your doormat to yoink.

But what if you’re trying to receive packages and deliveries without allowing our e-commerce big brothers to let themselves in on a regular basis?

6 ways to stop porch pirates once and for all

In a 2017 report, insuranceQuotes estimated that 25.9 million Americans had a holiday package stolen from their front porch or doorstep that year. And across the United States, 36% of consumers have reported having a package stolen at least once, at an average cost of $109.

Don’t want to be a part of that very sad group of people? Try one or more of these methods to deter package thieves when you’re doing your online holiday shopping.

1. Make delivery requests

Some online ordering systems allow you to make delivery requests, like putting the package in a secure area. Making a request doesn’t guarantee that it will be met, but you may be surprised at how attentive delivery people are when dropping off your goods. “Leave on basement steps” or “upstairs neighbor can sign” are simple instructions that can help ensure your package gets to you.

If you happen to run into your regular local USPS, UPS or FedEx carrier, you may be able to make requests in person. But keep in mind that your neighborhood delivery person may have the best intel on which bushes are ideal for concealing packages.

2. Work with a neighbor

If you know your neighbors — come on, go meet your neighbors — you can work together to thwart package theft. If you have alternating or overlapping schedules, swiping a package off their stoop — for good, not evil — means you can make sure it gets into their hands after dinner or whenever they get home.

3. Get packages delivered to your workplace

Not every employer will welcome your holiday shipments with open arms, so check with your office manager to see if they’d mind signing for packages you don’t want to risk having delivered at home.

Hauling items home can be cumbersome later, but if you want eyes on a package ASAP, your workplace may be your best bet.

4. Pay for a package receipt service

This isn’t the cheapest option, but it may be the most secure. Some businesses offer to receive packages for customers for a small fee.

I once lived around the corner from a dry cleaner that always had a line at the counter. Why so popular? Not only did it offer quick cleaning services, but you could pick up your dry cleaning and your packages in the same trip — and the hours were convenient, too.

5. Get your stuff delivered to an Amazon Locker

It’s not quite as convenient as home delivery or the corner store, but if you’d rather have your Amazon package delivered to a secure location, add an Amazon Locker location to your account.

Amazon will deliver the package to the locker and when it’s ready for pickup, you’ll receive an email with a six-digit code to pick up the package from the self-service kiosk.

Lockers are located in stores, apartment buildings and malls across the United States, which offers you convenient times to pick up packages on in the evenings or on weekends.

And if you’re a Prime member, you get to use the lockers for free.

6. Watch your tracking info like a hawk

Ah, the beauty of technology. I can see the exact moment my package went from a warehouse plane to another warehouse and onto a truck. And I can see the moment it finally lands at my home. Tracking services may not prevent you from losing packages to theft, but the available tools can help you stay up to date on its path and estimated arrival so you can plan accordingly.

Frequently, you can sign up for text or email updates on your package’s journey, and if you miss a delivery you need to sign for, you can sometimes have the package rerouted to a shipping service center, like the UPS Store, so the delivery person doesn’t spend three days knocking on your door.

Pro Tip

If you have the Ring doorbell camera, sign up for reports on the Neighbors App, where you can share info about package thieves if they hit your area.

The postal service even offers Informed Delivery, which sends you images of small pieces of mail that are on their way to your mailbox that day.

If you’re willing to make a bigger investment, home security systems like the Ring can also let you monitor your front door — and the police department can use the footage to track down the porch pirates.

If the worst-case scenario happens, detailed tracking information and video can help make a case to your credit card company, which may reimburse you for lost or stolen packages, or it could help you get a replacement item from the retailer.

Lisa Rowan is a former senior writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
New lunch menu at Momofuku Las Vegas
Chef Michael Rubinstein talks about the new lunch menu at Momofuku. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Cube by Nanotak at Intersect Festival - VIDEO
The cube synced with driving electronic music and glowed with LEDs that twinkled along the cube’s lines. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Elvis Presley tribute artist Trent Carlini dies - VIDEO
Trent Carlini, a renowned Elvis Presley tribute artist who performed at several Las Vegas resorts for almost 30 years, has died. Clark County officials confirmed Carlini died on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, at a Las Vegas hospital. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Intersect drone light show - VIDEO
The Intersect Music Festival in Las Vegas featured a special drone light show. (Samia DeCubas)
Shirley Chung is “coming home” for Paired dinner
Celebrity chef Shirley Chung is back in Las Vegas to co-host a sold out collaborative dinner Saturday night at Red Plate in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dandelion Chocolate opening at The Venetian
San Francisco’s Dandelion Chocolate will open its first Las Vegas café and retail store in The Venetian on Saturday. To celebrate, they’ll be offering guests free hot chocolate. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lbertine Social’s Pastrami Feast
Libertine Social's massive, house-made short-rib pastrami for $175 latter consists of three bones of short rib brined for seven days, smoked for six hours and cooked sous vide for two days before it’s finished in the restaurant’s pizza oven to give it a bark. It’s then carved and presented tableside with an assortment of sides and lettuce for making wraps. What’s “leftover” is then returned to the kitchen and prepared as Reuben sandwiches.
Ellis Island unveils The Front Yard
Ellis Island’s marketing director Christina Ellis talks about the new addition of the Front Yard. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump dropped from Terry Fator’s show on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
Fator has edited out one prominent figure: President Donald Trump, a focal point of Fator’s regular stage show and also Christmas show over the past 3½ years. The Trump puppet, with his pop-up hairpiece, has been sidelined from both shows until further notice. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Double Down Saloon
The iconic Vegas dive bar turns 27 this weekend. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making Elvis French Toast at Toasted Gastrobrunch in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Alfie Szeprethy, executive chef at Toasted Gastrobrunch in Las Vegas, makes Elvis French Toast by layering banana, peanut butter and bacon between brioche and grilling it in French toast batter. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cosmopolitan Tree Lighting Starts the Las Vegas Holiday Season - VIDEO
With a flip of an actual switch the Cosmopolitan lit their tree to signal the start of the Las Vegas holiday season. Golden Knights favorites Marc-Andre Fleury and Max Pacioretty were on hand to help with the event and skate around the rink with fans. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Views of the first Las Vegas Pizza Festival - VIDEO
The inaugural Las Vegas Pizza Festival, held Nov. 16 at the Industrial Event Space, drew 1,500 pizza lovers to sample the wares of 20 local pizza makers. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights documentary premiere brings out emotions - VIDEO
A couple of thousand ticket-holders braved marathon traffic and road closures to arrive at T-Mobile Arena three hours before game time to watch the long-in-the-works documentary. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rock ’n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon attracts 35,000-plus runners - VIDEO
More than 35,000 are registered to run in this year’s marathon or half-marathon. They’ll start their journey at 4:30 p.m. and conclude it under the neon lights on the Strip. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Heather Bray, as Elvis, wins women’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon - VIDEO
Heather Bray completed the 26.2-mile course Sunday in 3 hours, 13 minutes for her first marathon victory. She had run in two others, posting faster times in both. But the costume was heavier than her usual workout garb. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bobby Flay Celebrates 15 Years Of Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace
Bobby Flay talks about his Mesa Grill restaurant at Caesars Palace celebrating e its 15th anniversary. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Smoked Sazerac at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Las Vegas
Chase Jefferies, a bartender at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Las Vegas, makes a Smoked Sazerac by shaking Hennessy, Bulleit Rye, Pernod Absinthe, maple syrup and Peychaud’s Bitters with ice, then filling a snifter with applewood smoke and pouring the drink over an oversized ice cube. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Red Rock Canyon free to all Monday for Veterans Day - VIDEO
In honor of Veterans Day, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is free to all visitors on Monday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Artist dedicates heart sculpture on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
Artist Katy Boynton dedicated her sculpture depicting a giant steel heart to the Las Vegas community Saturday night outside Fashion Show mall. (James Schaeffer /Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Warm Salt-Roasted Beets at La Cave Wine & Food Hideaway in Las Vegas
Chris Yamauchi, sous chef at La Cave Wine & Food Hideaway at Wynn Las Vegas, roasts fresh beets for three hours, peels, cubes and chills them, then sautés them with butter, sherry vinegar and black pepper and tops with goat cheese and pistachios. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
O.J. Simpson files lawsuit against The Cosmopolitan over TMZ story - VIDEO
A lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas defamed O.J. Simpson when hotel employees told TMZ he was kicked out of the casino “for belligerence” in November 2017. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Smith Center will now be charging $5 fee to park - VIDEO
Patrons now have to pay to park to attend events at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in downtown, continuing a recent trend in the Las Vegas Valley. (James Schaeffer / Review-Journal)
Prove you're a local: Try to pronounce these Nevada cities - VIDEO
Try your hand at pronouncing these Nevada cities and watch as other locals from Downtown Summerlin attempt to get the names right along with you. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making Cochinita Pibil Tacos at Santos Guisados Tacos & Beer in Las Vegas
Lola Vasquez, a cook at Santos Guisados Tacos & Beer in Las Vegas, makes Cochinita Pibil Tacos by rubbing a pork shoulder with signature seasoning, marinating it in a mixture of achiote, peppercorns, clove, cumin, salt and fresh lime and orange juices and roasting overnight. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal )
Joey D'Ambrosio talks about playing on "Rock Around the Clock" - VIDEO
Saxophonist Joey D'Ambrosio, who lives in Henderson, was a member of Bill Haley & His Comets. “People were looking for something new,” D’Ambrosio said. "When they heard ‘Rock Around the Clock,’ there was something about that record that turned them on.” (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nation’s Largest Student Farmers Market
600 students participate in massive farmers market, Oct. 23,2019. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giant Student Farmers Market in Las Vegas
The largest student-run farmers market in the country involved 600 kids from more than 50 schools in the Las Vegas area selling fruits and vegetables grown at their schools. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves beer special in the Las Vegas Arts District - VIDEO
James Manos of Able Baker Brewing talks about offering a Golden Knights game-day promotion to celebrate partner Ryan Reaves at its Main Street tasting room. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas native Ethan William Childress of "Mixed-ish" - VIDEO
Interview with Las Vegas native Ethan William Childress, a young star of the new ABC comedy "Mixed-ish." (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review -Journal) @bizutesfaye
Before incorporating holiday decor, edit day-to-day accessories

There are ways to incorporate holiday accessories into your existing decor without making your house too crowded and without overwhelming your space. The key is to edit.

Researchers find drug can curb dementia’s delusions

If regulators agree, the drug could become the first treatment specifically for dementia-related psychosis and the first new medicine for Alzheimer’s in nearly two decades.