It’s no secret that package theft is on the rise across the country. Whether you’ve seen a viral video of a thief getting caught on someone’s doorstep or you’ve had a package stolen yourself, you likely know there’s a chance any delivery could be swiped before you even know it has arrived. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent a pesky package thief from taking off with your goods:
- Track your package. One of the simplest ways to protect yourself from package theft is to keep a close eye on the shipper’s tracking updates as a package makes its way to your home. Using the shipper’s estimated delivery date, you can make plans to be home on the day the package is set to be delivered. On the shipper’s tracking webpage, you can often also sign up to receive a text or email alert when your package has been delivered so it’s not left outside for too long.
- Recruit help from your friendly neighbours. If you or a member of your family can’t be home on the day a package is set to be delivered, consider asking a neighbour who is usually home to watch for the package and bring it inside for you to pick up later. If you’ve signed up for delivery notifications, you can also text your neighbour to let them know when the package has arrived on your doorstep.
- Install security cameras. Another way to deter package thieves is to install a large, noticeable security camera on your front porch. While it may not prevent some of the bolder thieves out there, a security camera may make other thieves rethink the risk versus reward of stealing whatever mystery item is in the box. And get this — if the camera is part of a larger home security system, you could qualify for a discount on your home insurance!
- Upgrade to a smart doorbell. If mounting a security camera outside your front door isn’t practical for you, or if you live in a condo or an apartment, a smart doorbell with a motion-activated camera is another good option. Smart doorbells are usually Wi-Fi enabled and can connect to your phone, sending you alerts and allowing you to see or talk to whoever’s at your door. The presence of one on your doorstep may be enough to deter thieves and keep your packages safe.
- Request to pick up your packages in person. When shopping online from retail stores with physical locations nearby, you may be able to choose to have your items sent to the store for in-store or curbside pickup, eliminating the risk of package theft altogether. Canada Post, FedEx, and UPS may also let you pick up your package at one of their secure locations if you choose that option on their tracking webpage.
- Buy a parcel box if your space allows it. If you’re living in a semi-detached or detached home with a spacious front step, consider buying a secure and lockable parcel box for your delivery person to drop your package in. When you’re expecting a package delivery, you can leave the box’s padlock unlocked. Most boxes come with a sticker instructing the delivery person to lock it up after they leave, so you can retrieve it when you’re ready.
- Rent a post office box. If you’re living in a condo, apartment, or townhome that doesn’t have room on the front step for a parcel box, you can always consider renting a post office box through Canada Post and sending all your packages there for pickup. With this option, you can usually choose which size of post office box is best suited to your needs. You’ll also have to pay a monthly fee to maintain access to your PO box.
What to do if a package is stolen from your porch
If, despite your best efforts, a thief still steals a package from your porch, there are a few steps you can take to try to get your money back or have your item replaced:
- Contact the company you purchased the item from. Different retailers will have different policies for dealing with stolen items, but you’re often entitled to a refund or replacement directly from the retailer, even though it may take sending a few emails or filing a claim.
- File a claim with the shipping company. Some retailers may make you file a claim with the shipping company instead of handling the process themselves. You can usually file a claim for a lost or missing package through the shipping company’s website. It’s important to remember that each shipping company will have a different window for how soon you must file a claim, and you’ll have to do some research to find out which shipping company the retailer used.
- Contact your credit card company. Many credit card providers offer purchase protection that will reimburse you for a stolen item if you paid for the item on your credit card. Each credit card company’s policy and process for reimbursement will be different. For example, some may exclude high-value items, while others may require you to file a police report before giving you a refund.
Sometimes package theft happens, even when you’ve taken all the right steps to prevent it. Wondering if your home or tenant insurance policy would cover a stolen package? Most policies do. Ask your licensed home insurance broker how your policy could protect you if a package ever gets stolen from your doorstep.
This article was originally posted on economical.com.