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(USAToday) - As you await the arrival of those Cyber Monday deals you snagged, consider that nearly one third of Americans have had packages stolen.
I never thought much about delivery theft until a couple on my quiet suburban street had a just-delivered office chair stolen from inside their screened porch. I can’t even imagine the thief sneaking away with that big, unwieldy parcel, but it happened.
After that, I started researching package drop-off alternatives. Assuming you can’t stay home all day to wait for a delivery, here are the best ways to prevent someone else from taking your packages.
1. Have parcels delivered to a friend or your job.
Not everyone has a local friend or relative who’s at home all day to receive your parcels, so see if it’s okay to have your packages sent to your workplace. Don’t take advantage, though. A former colleague had so many shoes shipped to her job, the mailroom guy called her “Zappo"!
2. Get an Amazon Locker near your home.
This free service lets you order online and pick up packages from a box at a location you choose. Amazon just installed a bunch of lockers at Whole Foods markets, and there are already plenty at local convenience stores and college campuses.
When you ship something to a locker, you get an email with a pickup code and have up to three days to pick it up. It may be inconvenient to do a pickup run, but it’s better than leaving a box on your front steps. And you can leave returns in the locker, too.
3. Set up a smart security camera.
A smart security camera lets you keep an eye on your home. You can receive an alert when anyone approaches your front door. Some cameras even let you communicate with the sketchy person who's eyeing your package. You may have to pay a subscription fee, but you'll increase security around your house.
4. Have your mail and packages held.
Connect with the post office and delivery services before you go on vacay, and get your stuff when you come back. And don't place any orders that will arrive while you're away.
Contact the U.S. Postal Service
5. Look into The Package Guard.
The Package Guard is a device the size and shape of a Frisbee that connects to your home Wi-Fi. It sits on your porch, texts you when a package is delivered, and sets off a very loud alarm if someone who doesn’t have the app tries to move the box.
6. Consider your comfort level with a smart lock.
Okay, if Amazon Key sounds just crazy to you, you may still want to add a smart lock to your door. We’ve reviewed some excellent smart locks that you can choose from. The ability to generate unique virtual keys can be very convenient when you need to let someone in.
7. Purchase a parcel delivery box.
Some of these boxes are old school, with hasps and locks. The modern ones let you use your phone to create and share an access code. Once bolted to your porch or front steps, these boxes become a secure point of delivery. Although we haven’t tested it, there’s a lot of buzz around the Landport.
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