(NewsSpace.com) – One of the perks of online shopping is that you don’t have to go out yourself. You can order what you need and have it shipped right to your day, often in a matter of days. However, with the increase in online shopping also comes an increase in a specific crime: porch piracy. According to the Chamber of Commerce, 26% of consumers have fallen victim. So how do you prevent this from happening to you?
Steps to Take
One of the easiest things you can do to prevent porch piracy is to install a doorbell camera or something similar. Make sure you set it up in a way that it captures a wide angle so nobody can sneak into a blind spot. While it may not deter everyone, it can provide an extra safeguard.
Always keep track of your packages, especially if you’ve been on an online shopping spree. Know how many you have coming and keep up-to-date on the tracking numbers. Then, if possible, grab your packages as soon as they are delivered. The less time they sit outside, the less time would-be thieves have to grab them.
If you know you will be away from home, try to schedule your delivery for when you return. Or, have your package delivered to a neighbor who you trust to keep it safe until you get back. Requiring a signature can also help cut down on packages left out in the open.
You can also leave instructions for your carrier to conceal the package, such as in a lock box on your porch or patio. They might not always abide by your instructions, but many do.
States Enacting Stricter Penalties
Some states, recognizing that porch piracy has become a serious issue, have enacted stricter laws and penalties. While stealing USPS packages is a federal crime, it’s not the same for private carriers such as FedEx, Amazon, and UPS, which fall under state law. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) tried to introduce a bill in Congress last year making it a federal crime to steal private carrier packages as well. However, it stalled and failed to advance.
Several states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Michigan, Kentucky, New Jersey, Arkansas, and Georgia, have made porch piracy a felony.
Some companies are also trying to combat the theft. UPS, for example, uses AI to assign a “confidence score” based on an address. If the area is deemed to be high-risk, customers are offered alternative ways to pick up their deliveries. Other companies are also now utilizing safer pick-up points as well.
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