BBB offers tips to avoid porch pirates this holiday shopping season

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 8:14 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The holiday season is in full swing, and if you haven’t started your holiday shopping yet, here is your reminder that we are less than 20 days until Christmas.

Many people will order gifts online, but it’s important to be mindful of porch pirates so that all your gifts end up under the tree.

Julie Wheeler, with the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Virginia, said last year about a quarter of consumers experienced package theft, according to C+R Research.

She said porch pirates often target houses easily visible and accessible from the street that provide a quick in-and-out route.

“If the retailer gives you the option to put specific delivery instructions and maybe you have a side porch or somewhere that is not visible from the street, put that in the instructions so that the drivers will put them somewhere where they can’t be seen by someone just walking by,” Wheeler said.

You can try to schedule deliveries for when you will be home, pick them up at the store, or ask reliable neighbors to hold onto them when you’re not home.

“If you’re purchasing something that is expensive that you can look for an alternative, whether you require a signature if you’re home a lot, send it to your business where you work if they will allow you to do that, send it to the retailer if they have pickup there,” Wheeler said.

Surveillance cameras can catch package thieves, and signs stating the area is being recorded can deter them too, Wheeler added.

If you’re missing a package, check with the retailer that delivered it. Many carriers now take photos of exactly where they leave packages. From there, you should file a report with the retailer, carrier, and local police.