Tips to Protect Online Deliveries from Theft This Holiday Season

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This holiday season, over 2 billion packages are expected to be shipped between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) are estimated to handle 510 million and 840 million packages, respectively. While the United States Postal Service (USPS) shipping volume is expected to hit 800 million packages this peak season.

That's a massive number of holiday packages to distribute worldwide, no doubt – and a great opportunity for "porch pirates" (or thieves) to snatch them away from people's doorsteps. Don't let porch pirates ruin this gift experience for your customers.

It's estimated – since 2014 – 23 million Americans have lost at least one package. In other words, almost a third of Americans have had their package stolen during the holiday season. Don't let porch pirates ruin your customer's holiday season, below are recommendations you can give your customers to fend off doorstep theft.

"Porch Piracy" Not a New Concept

Packages often disappear from people's doorsteps. So this is not something new. It happens perhaps too often. It's an age-old practice for porch pirates that has been going on for years on end – It's not an accident limited only for the holiday season.

You'll find packages lingering alone on home's front doorsteps and outside apartment buildings, next to busy roads and footpaths with human traffic. These are packages whose owners will live to regret ever leaving them unattended

The good news is, there are now more ways than ever to protect valuable shipments when you are not there to do so.

8 Ways to Fend Off Porch Pirates This Holiday Season

Ship to a Locker

Customers can have packages shipped to an Amazon Hub Locker for protection. When the Amazon item is delivered, customers receive an email with a 6-digit code valid for 3 days. This code is what unlocks the delivery.

FedEx and UPS have similar services. These lockers are in over 900 cities and towns across the U.S. including Whole Foods Market (Amazon-owned), apartment buildings, and local groceries.

In-Car Delivery

Besides instilling confidence, an in-car delivery option is also convenient. However, the vehicle must be fitted with Key In-Car Delivery and be located at the correct address for the safe delivery of the package. Then the delivery person electronically opens the vehicle and leaves the package in the trunk. For this Amazon-only feature, customers must have made the purchase from Amazon.

In-Home Delivery

It's possible to deliver packages inside a customer's home, but only when using Key Smart Lock Kit. This Amazon feature makes in-home delivery a safe option, which allows a delivery person to unlock a home's door and deliver the package inside the home. Again, purchases must be made on Amazon for this to be an option.

Ship to a Store

Packages can be shipped to a neighborhood grocery or drugstore for easy pickup. This option is secure and convenient way to keep your packages from being stolen. FedEx has partnered with Rite Aid and Walgreens, in almost 8,900 locations, where customers can receive packages coming from FedEx. It also partnered with Kroger and Albertsons grocery stores.

Choose a Delivery Day or Time

Amazon Prime members have control over what day packages are delivered with "Amazon Day". This secure option allows customers to pick a specific day of the week to schedule delivery for all packages. Amazon Day adds a level of convenience to package security as customers can schedule a delivery for a day they are more likely to be home.

UPS My Choice members can schedule delivery times for an upcoming scheduled shipment in a 2-hour window. While this additional service can be beneficial for customers, UPS does charge a fee for every 2-hour confirmed delivery window request.

Ship to a Safe Address

Another option you can recommend to customers is to ship to their work address, if possible. Packages are more likely to be delivered during the typical "8-5" working hours, making this a simple way to fending off porch pirates.Alternatively, packages can be shipped to a close friend or relative who is more likely to be home.

Ship to a FedEx Office

Shipping packages to a FedEx location is a convenient and secure way to keep packages away from porch pirates, and for good reason. FedEx has local offices in over 1,900 secure locations, which can safely hold a customer's packages until they are ready to pick up.

Install an Outdoor Security Camera

Today's porch cameras are easier than ever to install and connect to mobile devices. A simple camera or doorbell with motion-detection can send customers real-time alerts to their smartphone when slight movements are detected, including deliveries and possible theft.


The above tips can help thwart porch pirates from stealing your customers' holiday spirit. While doorstep deliveries, and the accompanying opportunity for theft, are at an all-time high, so are the options available to customers. Recommend these tips to customers for a safe and secure holiday season.