How to protect your packages from being stolen by porch pirates

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. — Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, many people will be expecting a delivery in the upcoming days - but can you be sure you’ll get your package before a porch pirate does?

Michael Romano is a U.S. Postal Inspector with for the United States Postal Service. His agency is responsible for prosecuting criminals who steal USPS mail.

Romano says the most important thing is for people to not leave their packages unattended.

“Once those deliveries are made, pull those into your house. Don’t leave them on your front porch so that it’s a target.”

If you don’t want to roll the dice with your next package, think about specifying where you want your carrier to leave the box.

“Customize your delivery by using your tracking number so you can request certain locations that you want that packaged delivered at your house. Whether it’s a side door, whether it’s a back porch, you can request that," says Romano.

Location, location, location— it’s incredibly important to think about. Sometimes the best location for your package may not be your own home.

“Consider having that package delivered to a friend or if your place of business allows it, have that package directly delivered to your place of business."

Kurt Grizzard is shopping online for the holidays because of convenience and says he always has packages sent straight to his office in Downtown Norfolk.

“I’ve had friends that have had stuff stolen. Some vendors are willing to replace it, some are not,” says Grizzard.

If you’re willing to venture outside your neighborhood, a secure Amazon or UPS drop-off point maybe the best way to go so you can pick up your package when you’re ready.

If you’re going to be out of town, Romano suggests filling out a “Hold Mail” form at the post office.

“You can also request that those packages are delivered on the date that you return when you do the mail hold request so your mail carrier will deliver everything that has been held safely at the post office right to your doorstep on the day that you return.”

Sometimes the best option is paying a little extra so you can make sure you meet your carrier before a Grinch steals Christmas.

“If it’s something of the utmost importance, there are add-on services through the Postal Service or you can pay for signature confirmation of those items, and so, that’s always a good means to make sure that that package is going to show up,” explained Romano.

However you plan on sending or receiving packages, it’s best to plan ahead.

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