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Here are tips to keep your packages safe as online shopping spikes during the holidays

As consumers turn to online shopping to avoid crowds during the pandemic, here's what you need to know to keep your packages from porch pirates.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — We are deep into the holiday season and many people have turned to alternative shopping methods due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Online shopping has been the saving grace for those who don’t want the in-person experience but that also means more packages at your front door.

This time of the year also brings out those who are naughty – the holiday grinches, also known as porch pirates.

Here are a few tips from the United States Postal Service and the Better Business Bureau on how to keep your packages safe.

  • Don’t leave delivered packages unattended. If possible, don’t leave delivered packages unattended for long periods of time.
  • Take advantage of online tracking services offered by retailers; if the company says it was delivered but it’s not at the delivered address, report it. Most of the shipping giants also offer apps to help track packages.
  • Consider monitoring the front door. If you have a home security camera system, make sure it captures activity at your front door and mailbox. If you catch any mail thieves in the act, save the video and alert your local Postal Inspectors. Video surveillance goes a long way in preventing crimes and catching bad guys.
  • Customize the delivery. If you know the package is going to be larger than the mailbox, authorize the carrier to leave it in a specified out-of-sight location. You can also request pick-up at their facility.
  • Secure the shipment. Signature confirmations ensure that the package ends up in the right hands. Register your most valuable packages so special care and documentation is used every step of the way. Ship your packages to where you are, not where you aren’t.
  • Talk to employers. See if they'll agree to having packages delivered to the workplace instead of the home address.
  • Watch for suspicious activity. Some thieves follow delivery trucks waiting for the opportune time to steal packages. If you notice something out of place in your neighborhood, report it to the proper authorities with specific details.

Jim Mayer, a spokesperson for UPS, said their drivers are trained to leave packages out of sight and out of the weather.

“What customers can do, if they have concerns, is to sign up for UPS My Choice, which gives them notice of packages arriving and control of their deliveries. You know when something is coming so customers can make plans to be there when the package arrives,” he said. “With My Choice, customers also can redirect packages to a UPS Access Point (like The UPS Store) at no cost and pick the package up at their convenience. For an additional fee, packages can be redirected to another address, maybe sending it to a relative who will be home when it arrives.”

If you happen to have a missing packages, below are links on where you can get help.