Protecting Holiday Deliveries From ‘Porch Pirates’

DES MOINES, Iowa– More than half of us will shop online for gifts this holiday season. Millions of shoppers are cashing in on deals delivered right to their doorstep on Cyber Monday.

“Between now and New Year’s Eve, UPS will deliver 700 million packages,” said Andy Tibbs from UPS.

All those purchases can lead to increased theft from so-called Porch Pirates. An estimated 23 million Americans had packages stolen from their homes last year, according to a survey by insurancequotes.com.

“If I buy something valuable and it sits at my house all day while I’m at work, it does concern me maybe someone will get to that package before I can,” said Allie Vaughan.

Vaughan shops online every once in a while. She hasn’t had problems with deliveries being stolen, but says some of her friends have.

There’s a ‘smart’ way to keep an eye on your packages. Wireless home security systems can monitor any room or door in and outside your home.

“Within the last year it’s absolutely boomed which is why we moved them to front center in our stores. Within the next year, you’re going to see it even bigger,” said Shawn Wells, a supervisor at Best Buy.

Smart doorbells come with a camera and motion sensor that will alert you if someone drops off a package. All you need is a wireless signal and an app to monitor the system. Homeowners can also set up web cameras.

“It’s kind of nice to have them visible, because one, that’s a way of deterring theft right there. If they know they’re being recorded, they’re not going to steal something from you,” said Wells.

At Best Buy, the home security systems start out as low as $50.

UPS offers a free service called UPS My Choice. Users can sign up to receive package tracking alerts and can control where they’re delivered such as at the back door or with a neighbor. The U.S. Postal Service and other shippers offer similar options.