Tips to prevent becoming victim of porch pirates

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Vendors and delivery companies offer plenty of options to help customers deter package theft. (Getty Images)

Vendors and delivery companies offer plenty of options to help customers deter package theft. (Getty Images)

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The holidays are the time of year when packages begin being dropped off on porches across the country.

This year, C+R Research estimates that over 230 million online shoppers will purchase things and have them sent their home.

However, officials say not everyone will get those packages because porch pirates are also on the lookout for an easy target.

In 2020, the Porch Piracy Act was signed into law, enforcing stricter penalties against porch pirates with punishments of up to two years in prison or up to a $5,000 fine.

Despite the law, it still largely falls on homeowners to protect their packages from thieves.

The Oklahoma Insurance Department has provided four tips to keep your holiday deliveries safe:

  1. Consider Shipping Insurance  Shipping insurance is sold by postal services, courier companies and shipping insurance companies. Not all insurers will cover all goods. However, if you’re ordering high-value items online, you may purchase shipping insurance to ensure delivery.
  2. Give Specific Instructions  Instead of having deliveries left unsecured at your front door, you can instruct drivers to leave a package at a back door, with a building superintendent, in a coded lockbox or with neighbors. You can also have deliveries placed on hold and request a specific delivery time. Most, but not all, of these services are free.
  3. Install Security Camera or Doorbell Camera  Security cameras or video doorbells can also come in handy. The mere presence of these cameras or smart doorbells may be enough to ward off the potential package thieves. Even if it doesn’t, you’ll at least have evidence for a police report. Bonus: installing these cameras may qualify you for a homeowners insurance discount.
  4. Sign Up for Tracking Notifications Most carriers offer package tracking services and text or email alerts to know when a delivery will be made so that you can adjust your schedule accordingly. Sign up for text or email notifications to check your delivery status.

Finally, if your package is stolen, here’s what you can do. 

  • Contact the Seller — File a claim with the seller and ask for a replacement.
  • Contact the Shipping Company — File a claim with the postal service that shipped your package. FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL and Amazon have a claim-filing system to help you track down your package.
  • Check Your Credit Card — Many credit cards have purchase protection covering lost or stolen items. Make sure you use a credit card to purchase the item.
  • File an Insurance Claim — Your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance may cover mail theft. Remember that filing a claim only makes sense for high-value packages worth more than your policy’s deductible.

For more insurance information, please contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 800-522-0071 or visit www.oid.ok.gov.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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