How to keep porch pirates from stealing your packages

Tips to keep your packages safe from Porch Pirates during the holidays

The holiday season is in full swing. And you know what that means: Piracy has kicked into high gear.

But these pirates aren’t cruising the waters of the Caribbean searching for treasure. They’re riding around your neighborhood, looking for packages to snatch from porches.

More Americans — spurred on by a strong economy and free shipping deals offered by retailers — are doing their holiday shopping online this year. That means more packages delivered and more tempting targets for thieves.

Almost 26 million Americans (or about 8% of the US population) say they’ve had a package stolen from a porch or doorstep during the holidays, according to a 2017 survey from

That translates to a lot of sad faces on Christmas morning. So here’s what you can do to stop porch pirates from running off with your packages and what to do if they are stolen.

Track your packages

The US Postal Service, FedEX and UPS all have systems to track your packages from the retailer to your doorstep. All three use tracking numbers that can be used to figure out where the item is and when it should be delivered to your home.

With the postal service’s Informed Delivery app, you can have email or text alerts about packages sent to you automatically, and you can post delivery instructions for the mail carrier if you won’t be home when the package gets there. UPS’ My Choice program and FedEx’s Delivery Manager offer similar options.

Amazon helps you keep track of your packages, too, with tracking information that can be found in your order details.

Deliver to your office or neighbor

Another surefire way to thwart porch pirates is to not have packages delivered to your home at all. Many people have holiday packages delivered to their workplace or to a trusted neighbor nearby who’ll be at home when the item arrives.

FedEx will hold your package for pickup at one of its FedEx Office locations or at Walgreens. Packages sent via UPS can be picked up at a UPS facility, diverted to a UPS Store or even delivered on another day that’s more convenient for you.

Invite the delivery person in

Maybe you can’t stay home during the day when those precious packages arrive — hey, you gotta work to pay for those things, right? Sending stuff to your workplace isn’t allowed, and you’re not tight enough with your neighbors for deliveries to be left with them.

But there are a few other options if you have an Amazon Prime membership. Amazon’s Key Smart Lock Kit allows you to remotely unlock your door so a package can be