While online shopping is increasingly becoming the new normal — especially here in Amazon’s hometown — it really picks up during the months around the holidays. But unfortunately, package thefts tend to tick up during this time, too.
The good news is that there are many things you can do (some even at little or no cost) to help prevent package theft and ensure your purchases arrive safely. Here are 11 ideas for keeping your deliveries on track this holiday season.
1. Team up with a friend or neighbor
If there’s someone you trust who’s usually home during the day, you can always ask if you can have your package delivered to their address instead. Though if you go this route, remember that a thank-you note or small gift is always appreciated. ’Tis the season, right?
2. Have packages delivered to your work
If your company allows it, having your packages delivered to the mailroom at work can be an easy fix. But always check with your HR department or manager before you click the “buy” button to ensure it’s okay with company policy.
3. Schedule deliveries in bunches
If you know you’ll be working from home on a specific date, try to schedule all your deliveries to arrive on that same day, rather than letting them trickle in over the course of the week.
4. Leave special delivery instructions when ordering
Most online checkout forms include a section where you can add special instructions for the delivery person — like to leave the package at the back door or with the building concierge. If you’re using a package delivery box, this is also where you can let the delivery person know how to access the box.
5. Sign up for delivery alerts
All of the major delivery companies, as well as Amazon, allow you to opt in for real-time delivery alerts via text message or email. Take advantage of these notifications to keep tabs on your package’s ETA. Smart locks and camera systems also offer these notifications.
6. Require a signature with delivery
When choosing your shipping option during checkout, pick one that requires someone to sign for the delivery. If no one is home when the package arrives, the carrier will leave instructions for rescheduling delivery or picking the package up from them later.
7. Have your purchase delivered to a local “mailbox” store
Stores like The Mailbox in Belltown will allow you to have a package delivered and held at their store for a small fee. Many local UPS stores offer this service, too.
8. Take advantage of Amazon’s secure delivery options
You can have your items delivered to an Amazon Locker nearby and then pick up the package at your convenience. If you’re a Prime member, you can opt for the Key by Amazon service that lets a delivery person enter your home to leave your package inside (you’ll need to buy a Key-compatible smart lock though).
9. Use a package delivery box
While these security devices come in a variety of sizes, styles and prices, they all do one essential thing: offer a secure place for the delivery person to leave your package. For added security, you can even use a lock service like BoxLock, which coordinates with most major delivery carriers.
Myron Mullins, CEO of OreMailboxes, recommends these boxes as a more convenient option than having your package delivered to a third-party site.
“You can opt for a more secure package delivery system at your home like an OreMailbox, which has a locked package vault,” Mullins said. “Delivery services push the package into the OreMailbox, a trap door snaps shut, and the package remains concealed and protected from inclement weather until you retrieve it.”
10. Install a security camera
Doorbell or outdoor cameras can be a great way to keep an eye on what’s happening at the front door. Smart options like Ring can even alert you in real-time when someone is at your home. And if the camera is visible from the outside, that alone could be enough to deter would-be package bandits.
11. Choose to pick up in store instead
Many retailers offer a hybrid “buy online, pick up in store” option that gives you the ease of online shopping with the security of picking up your item in person. You can buy a gift online over lunch, and then pick it up at the store on your way home.
But if your package does happen to be stolen after delivery, there are a few things you can do. The first is to immediately contact the retailer. If you received delivery updates or a delivery confirmation, be sure to have that information handy. You’ll also need to alert the carrier service that delivered your package. Finally, you should file a report with the Seattle Police Department by calling the non-emergency line at 206-625-5011.