مشاركات عشوائية

'Porch hackers' stole around 260 million packages in 2021

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You may not be the only person who wants packages to arrive at your home.

During the holidays, as the volume of door-to-door deliveries increases due to shopping and gift-giving, so do the so-called porch pirates who will snatch packages right in front of you, according to experts.

Over the past year, around 260 million delivered packages were stolen, according to a report by SafeWise, an online guide to safety and security products. A year ago, the estimate was 210 million.

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“Package thefts are unfortunately on the rise, perhaps in part due to the increase in online shopping that began with the pandemic in 2020,” said Teresa Murray, a consumer watchdog for US PIRG, a non-profit consumer advocacy research group.

Online sales have remained high since 2020

Anecdotally, police and sheriff’s departments in communities across the country have reported that porch hijackers have been a huge problem in recent weeks, Murray said.

“Part of that could be because many people have returned to the office at least part-time this year, compared to the past two years,” she said. And, as everyone knows there’s a flurry of deliveries this time of year, there’s every reason to believe the bad guys are using it as an opportunity.

It’s a ‘very low risk and very low skill’ crime

Besides having more opportunities, it’s a fairly easy crime to commit, said Ben Stickle, a criminal justice professor at Middle Tennessee State University who studies package theft.

“The other aspect of this crime that makes it unique and likely to continue to increase is that there is very low risk and very low skill,” Stickle said. “It takes no skill to mount and steal a package.”

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However, it also means keeping tabs on your emails and text messages. “Checking your email once a day or whatever isn’t enough,” Murray said.

Once you receive the delivery alert, pick up the package immediately or call a neighbor who is home to pick it up. “You don’t want packages sitting out for hours, day or night,” she said.

You can also try scheduling delivery for a day and time when you know you’ll be home, Stickle said. “Or have it delivered to an alternate address like work or a trusted neighbor,” he said.

Alternatively, you can pick up your package, for example, at a UPS or FedEx store or at an Amazon Hub Locker, instead of having it delivered. Sometimes you can make the choice after your package has been shipped, Murray said.

“In other cases, you must select this option when you make the purchase or before it ships,” she said.

If your package is stolen, contact the sender

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