It’s the holiday season. If you’re anything like me, you’re ordering a lot of gifts for your friends and family online and waiting for a raft of packages to arrive at your front door.
And unfortunately, if you’re like me, you’ve already had one or two of those packages stolen by porch pirates. Happy Holidays! This year alone, my wife and I have lost a white noise machine, weighted blanket, a purse, and a razor swiped from our apartment’s vestibule. And no amount of passive aggressive notes I tape inside my building’s front door telling our neighbors to stop letting strangers in will keep my future deliveries safe.
Thankfully, there are a handful of ways to prevent having your goods stolen, not just around the holidays, but year-round, too.
Use an Amazon drop-off point
I shop on Amazon (AMZN) a lot. And while it has a solid system for reporting stolen deliveries, and a means to get replacements, it’s best to avoid having your package pilfered in the first place.
Thankfully, Amazon offers its Amazon Hub Locker locations across the country. Available in everything from transit centers to Rite Aid, Amazon’s Hub Locker is a dropbox for your deliveries that keeps them safe from thieves. They’re also incredibly easy to use.
Rather than having your package sent to your home address, you can select a nearby Hub Locker. Your item will then be delivered to the locker, and you’ll receive a unique code to unlock it when you’re ready to pick it up.
It’s a solid option if you’ve got a particularly pricey gift coming in and don’t want anyone to snatch it while you’re away.
Connected security cameras
If you don’t have an easily accessible Amazon Hub Locker near you, you can also opt for a connected security camera. Amazon’s Ring line and Google’s (GOOG, GOOGL) Nest offerings provide impressive capabilities including live streaming and notifications to let you know if and when someone’s snooping around your front porch.
What’s more, cameras can serve as a means to alert you when the delivery driver drops off your item, so you can go outside and grab it immediately. In some instances, the cameras can even serve as deterrents.
Put special instructions in your delivery notes
If you live in an apartment like me and can’t just slap a camera on the front of your building or outside of your door, you’ve still got a few options to keep your goods from disappearing.
Many retailers offer customers the ability to leave specific delivery instructions for their items. That could include asking the delivery person to hide your package out of sight of your building’s entryway so would-be thieves can’t see it, or asking them to place your box in your backyard. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate explanation — just something to give the delivery person an idea of where to leave your package to keep it from getting jacked.
Require a signature
It might not be the most convenient way to keep your packages safe this holiday season and beyond, but requiring a signature for your delivery is a surefire way to get your item.
You can also request that if you’re not home at the time of your delivery, which, let’s face it, is bound to happen, your item can be sent to a nearby drop point where you can sign for it and pick it up.
I’ve had to use this method several times in the past, and while it can be annoying, I’ve never had a delivery stolen that I had to sign for.
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Got a tip? Email Daniel Howley at firstname.lastname@example.org over via encrypted mail at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.