Online shopping: Protect your packages from ‘Porch Pirates’

With Cyber Monday coming up, it’s time to look over ways to make sure online purchases and deliveries are made with protections already in place

CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – The National Retail Federation says more than half (56.6 percent) of shoppers will do holiday shopping online. The increase means more merchandise will be left on doors steps – and more police reports of stolen packages.

In just one weekend in Youngstown, the department took dozens of reports of holiday gifts being stolen during the holiday season.

With Cyber Monday coming up, it’s time to look over ways to make sure online purchases and deliveries are made with protections already in place.

Customers can request to have your order insured. And if orders are made through UPS, they will ensure liability at no extra cost as long as the purchase isn’t over $100.

Delivery confirmation is also a useful feature so you know when a package reaches your doorstep.

“Mark is signature required so the driver does not leave it at your house and the delivery company may hold it at their location for a couple of days, which gives you an opportunity to go pick it up there instead of being left at your house,” said Officer Steve Garstka, Canfield Police Department.

Text alerts are also a useful feature which allows shoppers to be notified immediately where your package is all time and when it is delivered.


  1. Avoid sending cash by mail – Checks and money orders are safer than cash and may be cancelled or reissued in the event of theft.
  1. Don’t leave delivered mail and packages unattended – Just as wallets and purses shouldn’t be left on the front seat of an unlocked car overnight, mail and packages shouldn’t be left uncollected in mailboxes or front porches for any length of time.
  1. Consider an alternate shipping address – Customers can arrange to have packages delivered to neighbors who are home during the day or get packages delivered at work, if permitted.
  1. Change the package’s address—while it’s in transit! – Customers who know they won’t be home when their package is delivered can try USPS Package Intercept. Prior to delivery, most domestic package shipments can be redirected back to the sender, to a new address or to the Post Office to be held for pickup.
  1. Customize the delivery – If the package doesn’t fit in the mail box and the customer won’t be home to receive it, they can provide delivery instructions online and authorize their carrier to leave it in a specified location. Visit, enter tracking number and select Delivery Instructions. Customers can also request the package be left with a neighbor or held at a Post Office for pickup.
  1. Plan ahead. Ship using Hold for Pickup – When shipping packages, customers can choose the Hold for Pickup option and the recipient can collect the package at their local post office. For customers receiving packages, they can redirect incoming packages to their local Post Office by selecting Hold for Pickup using USPS Package Intercept.
  1. Going out of town? Hold mail at the local Post Office – Instead of risking leaving a package unattended for an extended period of time, customers planning on being away from home for a few days are encouraged to take advantage of the Request Hold Mail service. Letters and packages will be held securely at the local Post Office until they return.
  1. Secure the shipment using USPS Signature ServicesSignature Services help ensure the package ends up in the right hands by requiring a signature at the time of delivery.
  1. Choose the most secure form of delivery – For the most valuable packages, customers can opt for Registered Mail service. Registered Mail receives special-handling from the time it’s mailed until it’s delivered, documenting the chain of custody.
  1. PO Boxes might be the answer – Customers concerned about the security of their mail can consider renting a Post Office Box at their local Post Office.  The mail remains secure within the Post Office, accessible only when using the right key or combination. Many Post Office lobbies are open 24/7, allowing customers to retrieve mail on their schedule.