The TODAY show has been reporting on several cases of doorstep theft across the country, where criminals literally follow UPS trucks around neighborhoods and snatch delivery boxes from doorsteps and driveways. Last week was the biggest online shopping period of the year (I mean, did you see the Cyber Week sales?) and so predators are having a field day as all the packages are being delivered, some even taking them in broad daylight. Luckily, it’s incredibly easy to protect yourself. “Online is still the best place to get your holiday shopping done because of the convenience and the deals. You just have to know how to protect yourself and your packages,” says online shopping expert Michelle Madhok.
1. Request a signature. Whenever you have the option to request a signature for delivery, do so. In some cases, it is up to the retailer not the customer to decide whether a signature is required for delivery. If a package is stolen and you were not given the option of requesting a signature upon delivery, or you think that the delivery company showed disregard in leaving your package unattended, this may entitle you to a full refund or replacement of the item. Mention this when speaking to customer service.
2. Track your packages. “Most etailers provide tracking numbers with your order confirmation and some even email you to let you know that your package has been shipped,” Michelle explains. If the retailer does not provide these alerts, sign up for them, for free, from the shipping company, like UPS My Choice.
When the tracking information is provided, follow the link in the email or simply paste the tracking number in to the Google search bar to see details of your delivery (the time it was delivered, who signed for it, etc.). If you see that a package is being delivered at a time when you won’t be home, FedEx even has a redirect service that allows you to change the shipping address while the package is in transit for a small handling fee.
And if the tracking information shows that a package has been delivered but it’s missing when you get home, call the retailer immediately. If you can prove that the package should not have been left without a signature, the stores will work with the delivery company to refund or replace stolen items.
3. Have your packages shipped to work. If your employer allows it, and most do, have your packages shipped directly to your office. This also protects you from having packages that require a signature returned to the sender after three attempts. As SHEfinds’ own Editorial Director Jeanine Edwards explains, “I am never home at the times when packages would be delivered, and they usually won’t just leave them at the door without someone signing for them. I need my stuff!” The only caveat of having your packages shipped to your work is “nosy coworkers” wanting to know what you got.
4. Ask a neighbor for help. If a package is being delivered while you are out of town or at the beginning of a work day and you won’t be home for hours, ask a trusted neighbor to hold on to your package until you get home. Most are happy to do so. “I ordered a new phone last year and that had to be shipped to my apartment. Not only were my neighbors gracious enough to sign for the package without me asking, but they held it for me until I got home,” explains Jeanine.
5. Request a vacation hold. If you’re going to be out of town, request a 14-day vacation hold with FedEx or UPS. Packages will not be delivered to your home during that time.
6. Have your package shipped to the nearest FedEx store location. Another option is to have your deliveries sent to the nearest FedEx Office location. They’ll hold packages for up to five business days. For more tips on how to protect your FedEx deliveries, visit here.