How to stop 'porch pirates' from pilfering your holiday packages

Steve Tawa
November 26, 2018 - 11:42 am
Customers at a UPS Store

Steve Tawa/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Some shoppers who think they are escaping long lines and parking hassles at retail stores this holiday season — including on Cyber Monday — may still be disappointed if their online order gets pilfered when it finally reaches their homes.

There are plenty of work-arounds if you're expecting a package, says Joy Patton, who runs the UPS Store at 3rd and Girard streets.

"You do not want them just sitting there at your front door, or on your steps," Patton said.

UPS calls them "porch pirates" — people who follow delivery trucks to their destinations in order to pilfer packages when the delivery person sets them down. 

"You can always have your packages shipped to a UPS store, through UPS Access Point," Patton said.

A customer named Chris likes that option.

"I might actually have things delivered here, because I live down the street," Chris said.

They can also be diverted to a FedEx Office. Delivery companies have arrangments for pickups at a public location down the street, like your neighorhood deli or pharmacy. Other options might be a neighbor or a workplace taking in the package.

FedEx, UPS, DHL, Amazon, and the U.S. Postal Service, send out real-time alerts to help consumers track packages. 

Monica from Manayunk and her two roomates seem to have a constant stream of deliveries.

"We use the tracking option. It's cool. You can see how many stops away the deliveries are," she said.

Amazon's feature shows a real-time map of your delivery as it's in transit, letting you watch a dot on the screen, similar to monitoring an incoming Uber or Lyft driver. It also has Amazon Lockers scattered at commercial sites, like Whole Foods and convenience stores, like 7-Elevens.

If it's a high-value package, you can require a signature for it to be released.