What to Do If a Package Is Stolen

According to a recent study, nearly one in four people  report being a victim of package theft and nearly half know someone who has had a package stolen.  
Of course, the uptick in package theft is not that surprising, considering consumers purchased $2.86 trillion in online retail goods in& 2018. Many of these items land squarely in the middle of our unsecured front doorsteps, and area tempting target for thieves.

So, what should you do if your package is stolen? Before you go to the time and expense of rigging up a glitter bomb like this NASA scientist did, try these steps instead:

Verify Delivery of the Package 

If your tracking information shows that your package delivered, but the box is nowhere to be found, we recommend doing the following: 

  • Check the shipping address to make sure you didn’t put in a wrong address when you made your order. 

  • Look carefully around all the main doors to your residence; it’s possible the carrier left a notice of attempted delivery or put the package in a safe place—such as behind a bush or inside your garage. 

  • Make sure someone else, like a neighbor, didn’t accept the delivery. 

Contact the Retailer 

You can start the claims process by contacting the retailer from which you purchased the item. Companies have varying policies when it comes to reporting missing packages. For example, Walmart and Amazon ask that you wait 24 to 48 hours before reporting a package as lost. 
In some cases, the retailer will send a new package or issue a refund for lost or stolen packages. Other times, you may have to work with the retailer or contact the shipping company to file a claim.

Contact the Shipper 

Your next step is to contact the shipper and start the claims process. Some shippers require the retailer who sold you the item to start the claims process, so that’s why it is essential to check with the retailer who sold you the product first. 
The United States Postal Service (USPS) will have you start a Missing Mail search. UPS and FedEx each have their own processes and online portals for filing a lost package claim. 

If the retailer or shipper are unwilling to work with you to replace an item of significant value, another option is to check with your homeowner’s insurance to see if it covers the contents of the parcel. 

File a Theft Report with the Local Police Department. 

DO NOT CALL 911. Package theft is not an emergency. Do an internet search for the phone number of your local police station. 
Unless you have clear surveillance video that includes a license plate number and a little bit of luck, like what happened in this USA Today story, catching the culprit is unlikely. However, police still want to know about any issues going on in their community, so they can look for any patterns of behavior or trends, and possibly increase patrols in certain areas. 


Don’t have Packages Delivered when You’re not Home 

Unfortunately, there are plenty of documented cases of homeowners who are at home, don’t hear the delivery driver knock, and still end having a package stolen. Still, it’s best to schedule package deliveries at a time when you will be home. If that isn’t possible, have packages delivered to a secure location, like to your office or a neighbor whom you know will be home. 
Retailers and shippers offer other creative (creepy?) options, such as Amazon’s Key service which allows Amazon delivery drivers to open your front door, the trunk of your car, or your garage to put packages securely inside. 
Other,less invasive, options include private mailbox and locker services or the ability to have your package delivered to a location like a local drugstore. There are evenlocked parcel boxesyou can place on your property near your front door to protect your packages. 

Invest in a Security System 

Finally, consider investing in a doorbell security system. Prevent Package Theft, an online resource to help battle porch pirates, and an Amazon Services LLC affiliate, mentions that security cameras reduce the chance of theft by up to 300 percent. 
Plus, the surveillance video might help you catch a thief or create the internet’s next best burglar-fail video.


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