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Don’t Let Porch Pirates Get Away with Your Goods

Many polls and surveys predict increased holiday shopping traffic, and delivery services prepare for what some call “shipageddon.” It means big business for porch pirates. It is a felony to steal packages off front porches in Texas, but it doesn’t deter all thieves. BBB reminds consumers they can take steps to prevent porch pirates from getting away with the goods.

“Online sales are at record highs this year, some reporting as many as seven million packages per day,” Mechele Agbayani Mills, President, and CEO of BBB serving Central East Texas, said. “That means porch pirates will be on the prowl more than ever.” 

BBB offers the following tips to keep pesky porch pirates away from your packages: 

Keep Track. Ensure you know which company is delivering your package, and save the receipt and tracking number by printing it out or saving the email. 

Signature Confirmation. Request a signature confirmation upon delivery. It will prevent the delivery person from leaving the package unattended. 

Delivery time. Request a time for the package to be delivered when you’re at home. If you know you won’t be home, consider having packages delivered to your employment or a trusted neighbor/friend who will be at home or have them look out for the box and hold until you get home. 

Special instructions for delivery. Ask the delivery company to leave your packages where you can see it from the street. 

Pick up at the delivery company. You may opt to pick up the package at the delivery company. You can use this service to send the package to someone else; redirect the parcel to a pick-up facility closest to the recipient. The company will contact the recipient to let them know they have a delivery waiting for them. 

Install home security cameras. While no one is immune, consider installing security cameras, both as a deterrent as well as to assist if you become a victim of a porch pirate. 

Neighborhood package watch. Consumers must be watchful for criminals canvassing neighborhoods looking for packages left on doorsteps. Ask your neighbors to watch for deliveries and agree to secure each other’s boxes. Please remember to report suspicious behavior to local law enforcement.

Delivery alerts. Many delivery companies offer-at-no-cost-text notification to your cell phone when they deliver a package. Take advantage of delivery alerts and call a trusted neighbor as soon as you learn your parcel has arrived. Contact the store immediately if your package is not received when indicated.

Bolted lockbox. Consider purchasing a steel box that you can bolt down to any surface. Insert the code into the “special instruction” area for delivery and have the delivery company put the packages in the box.

For more advice on staying safe this holiday season, or sharing your experience with a business, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, call BBB at (903) 581-5704 or notify it via BBB Scam Tracker.

BBB: BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more details. There are over 100 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central East Texas, which was founded in 1985 and covered 19 counties.