Tech Made Simple

Hot Topics: How to Fix Bluetooth Pairing Problems | Complete Guide to Facebook Privacy | How to Block Spam Calls | Snapchat Symbol Meaning

We may earn commissions when you buy from links on our site. Why you can trust us.

author photo

7 Ways to Prevent Your Packages From Being Stolen

by Elizabeth Harper on November 21, 2023

Updated on 11/21/2023 with the latest delivery options and product recommendations.

Nearly 80% of Americans take advantage of the convenience of online shopping, according to Statista. However, this convenience brings a significant risk: package theft. A recent Lombardo Home study revealed that 21% of respondents experienced parcel theft this year, and 62% know someone who faced this issue during the holiday season.

The risk is heightened when packages are left unattended on front porches – often for hours while we're at work or even days when we're away on vacation. This situation offers ample opportunity for thieves.

The aftermath of such thefts can be frustrating. Once a package is stolen, options for recourse are limited. Retailers and delivery companies typically aren't liable for packages once delivered, and their policies on replacing stolen items vary. While filing a police report is advisable, it rarely results in the recovery of the stolen items.

So, how can we proactively thwart porch pirates? Let's delve into seven strategies that can help safeguard your deliveries.

1. Manage your delivery options with the shipping company

Most major shipping companies – including major carriers like UPS, FedEx, or USPS – provide notifications for the estimated arrival time of your package, rescheduling deliveries for a more convenient time, or arranging for your package to be held for pickup at a designated location. It's a wise idea to take advantage of these features to make sure packages don't go missing.

While most shippers have the option to pick up at one of their locations, FedEx also provides the option to have your package delivered to a nearby Dollar General or Walgreens. With over 7,500 Walgreens locations, many of which are open 24 hours, opting for delivery to these sites can be a convenient and cost-free alternative for receiving your packages.

Scheduling and pick-up options usually become available when you receive your package tracking number from the shipper. While signing up for these notifications is typically free, there might be a fee for scheduling your delivery for a new time.

2. Add delivery instructions to keep packages off the front porch

In some cases, you can provide additional delivery instructions with your order to enhance security. For example, you might request that items be left by a side door, making them less visible to potential thieves. When entering shipping information, look for the 'delivery instructions' option on the retailer's site and include any specific details that could help safeguard your package.

There's no guarantee that the delivery company will respect your request, but it's worth giving it a shot.

3. Have packages left inside your garage with Key by Amazon In-Garage Delivery

It doesn't get any more convenient than Key by Amazon In-Garage Delivery, which lets delivery staff open your garage door and leave your package inside. When you get home, your items are waiting for you, safe and sound.

While the idea of remote garage access may raise security concerns, Amazon implements several measures to safeguard your home and deliveries. Here’s how the in-garage delivery process works:

  1. You'll receive an alert before the driver arrives, indicating the expected delivery window.
  2. Upon arrival, the driver scans your package, triggering a request to Amazon to open your garage door.
  3. Amazon confirms the driver at your address is the one assigned to your delivery.
  4. You're notified that your package is being delivered.
  5. Amazon remotely opens your garage door without giving the driver any access codes.
  6. The driver places the package just inside your garage door.
  7. After delivery, the driver requests Amazon to close your garage.
  8. Amazon notifies you that the delivery is complete and your garage is securely closed.

For added security, Amazon can record the delivery if you have an Amazon Key-eligible camera, such as the Ring Indoor Cam 2nd Gen ($59.99, on sale for $29.99 at time of publication), Ring Stick Up Cam ($99.99, on sale for $59.99 at time of publication), or the myQ Smart Garage Camera ($79.99, on sale for $39.99 at time of publication). You can watch the delivery live or review it later, ensuring complete peace of mind.

To use this service, first verify its availability in your area by checking your zip code on Amazon (you'll need to scroll down to find it). If you are eligible, you'll need compatible hardware, like the myQ Smart Garage Control ($29.99, on sale for $18.25 at time of publication) or the Aladdin Connect Wi-Fi RetroFit Kit ($59.99). These devices integrate with your existing garage door opener. If you already have a myQ or Aladdin Connect account, simply link it to your Amazon account to start using the service.

4. Completely customize your delivery options with TaskRabbit

For those who prefer to avoid the hustle of mall shopping, TaskRabbit offers a convenient alternative. The service allows you to hire someone to shop for you and deliver items directly to your doorstep.

To use TaskRabbit, simply visit their website, detail your shopping needs, and choose a 'Tasker' from a list of qualified individuals. Payment is based on an hourly rate, which varies depending on the chosen Tasker. While this might be more expensive compared to other delivery options, TaskRabbit provides a unique benefit: the flexibility to tailor your delivery specifics, including the timing and method, a level of customization not typically offered by other services.

5. Watch for deliveries and package thieves with a video doorbell

A video doorbell serves as more than just a doorbell; it can also be a deterrent against porch pirates. While it can't physically stop a thief, its presence can make a would-be thief think twice. When a delivery person arrives, you can interact with them through the doorbell, guiding them on where to safely leave the package.

Like a security camera, these doorbells are motion-activated and record footage of anyone near your front door. This means if someone takes your package, you'll have video evidence to provide to the police.

Investing in a video doorbell does involve an initial expense and requires installation. Once installed, keep in mind that ongoing cloud recording might need a subscription, adding to the overall cost. Think of a video doorbell as a long-term investment in your home's security rather than just a means to monitor packages.

Our top recommendation for a video doorbell is the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 ($249.99, on sale for $149.99 at time of publication). For those without an existing wired doorbell and seeking a more budget-friendly option, the Blink Video Doorbell Wired ($59.99, on sale for $29.99 at time of publication) would be our choice.

6. Pick an alternate delivery location

To effectively prevent package theft, consider avoiding porch deliveries altogether. Opting for delivery to an alternative location where someone can receive it is a secure and often cost-free solution. Here are a few options:

  • Local Relative or Neighbor: Have your package delivered to a nearby relative or a trusted neighbor who is often home. FedEx and UPS even allow rerouting to different residential addresses.
  • Your Workplace: If permissible, use your office address for deliveries, ensuring someone is always there to receive them.
  • P.O. Box or UPS Mailbox: Be mindful that while these provide a secure location for your packages, they come with a monthly rental fee. Also, not all P.O. boxes accept packages, so it's essential to confirm this before renting.

For Amazon shoppers, Amazon Pickup Locations offers a network of Amazon Lockers and Counters at various locations like convenience stores, drug stores, and Whole Foods. With locations in more than 900 cities and some open 24 hours, it offers a convenient and secure alternative to traditional home delivery.

Here's how to use the Amazon Pickup Locations service:

  1. Locate a Pickup Location: Search for a nearby Amazon Locker or Counter on the Amazon Pickup Locations page or during checkout. Each listing provides the address, hours of operation, and instructions for package pickup.
  2. Select Your Preferred Pickup Location: Choose the Locker or Counter location that suits you.
  3. Complete Your Checkout: Proceed with the checkout process as usual.
  4. Wait for Delivery Confirmation: Once your package is delivered, Amazon will email you instructions for pickup.
  5. Package Pickup: Retrieve your package within three days from a Locker or within 14 days from a Counter to prevent it from being returned.

7. Opt for curbside pickup at a local store

Practically every retailer with physical stores will let you pick up purchases curbside at your local store rather than have them delivered to you. This can be a really convenient option, particularly for big retailers like Best Buy, Target, Home Depot, and Walmart, which have locations everywhere. As a bonus, there's usually no delivery fee for curbside pickup.

When you're checking out, just look for the in-store pickup shipping option and select the store nearest you. If the item is in stock locally, you can often collect it on the same day. Once your order is ready, drive to the store and confirm your pickup. A store associate will then place your purchases directly into your trunk, combining convenience with efficiency.

Final thoughts

Protecting your deliveries from theft is about combining vigilance with the smart use of technology and services. From scheduling deliveries with shipping companies to utilizing innovative solutions like Amazon Pickup Locations or video doorbells, each method offers a layer of security to safeguard your packages. Taking proactive steps can significantly diminish the chances of your parcels falling into the wrong hands.

[Image credit: package on doorstep via BigStockPhoto]

Elizabeth Harper is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience covering consumer technology and entertainment. In addition to writing for Techlicious, she's Editorial Director of Blizzard Watch and is published on sites all over the web including Time, CBS, Engadget, The Daily Dot and DealNews.


Home Safety & Security, Health and Home, Tips & How-Tos, Shopping

Discussion loading


From tom walters on December 12, 2018 :: 5:21 pm

My post office accepts UPS and Fed-x delivery
and (if they won’t fit in your regular mailbox)
put the package in a larger box and put the key in your mailbox.



From Nancy McKay on December 12, 2018 :: 6:22 pm

Trying to get a delivery person to ring or knock on your door is another task.

One of the conveniences of Amazon is delivery - having to go to a locker is like going to a store anyway.  Deliver it or I’ll just go shopping.



From Bruce on November 22, 2019 :: 10:17 pm

“having to go to a locker is like going to a store anyway.”
Except you know that your delivery will be at the locker. You’re not always sure you’ll find what you want at the store, unless you call ahead, and get them to hold it until you can get there (some places won’t hold for more than an hour, past closing, or 24 hours, depending on the store).



From Nettrick Nowan on July 08, 2019 :: 12:24 pm

In the early days, if Amazon told me something was going to be delivered it was. I would schedule my time to make sure I’d be here. Now, I’ve got about 60/40 chance of getting items delivered when they say. I take one day off to make sure of delivery and then get an email saying delivery won’t take place until the next day. I can work with their delivery dates, they just can’t be accurate. Amazon has gotten much too big and has lost their touch.



From masterredfox on July 22, 2020 :: 3:27 pm

I am currently having problems with deliveries from Amazon, along with other carriers. I just got off the phone with Amazon logistics to try and solve this problem. I wish this author would do a followup article on this subject to address the problem faced by all carriers with their delivery persons. With the big use of the Ring doorbell camera, one does not have to be home to see what happens at the door. Every carrier does allow delivery instructions to be added for your packages, which with today’s technology comes up for each address per package. What has happened is a lack of emphasis given to the driver to read all instructions carefully. Maybe some areas do it better than others. I have figured it out that most of my delivery packages, no matter the carrier, come out of one main depot in my area. I am hoping between my constant complaints and the shipper’s feedback that we can solve this problem. I purposedly told Amazon today, I don’t want the driver’s job affected, I want the information made available and emphasized the importance of reading the instructions. I would rather wait for delivery made properly than empathize on the speed of delivery.  Nor should I have to leave my house to pick up a delivery. I pay a yearly Prime Fee for delivery charges, even with the increases and I choose the Amazon delivery day for my area to ensure a delivery period time. I know exactly when any carrier delivers in my area based on their route from the depot. All we are asking is for correct delivery.



From Karyl Ronka on October 29, 2019 :: 1:02 pm

I LOVE the USPS Informed Delivery service! Go to and sign up for “Informed Delivery”. Every day that mail is to be delivered to your address you will get an e-mail at about 8 AM that includes a photo of each piece of flat mail, and a notice about possible packages. This enables you to alert someone to pick it up if you can’t. This has fixed problems several times. Also, if you don’t get a piece that was promised, you can notify the PO. Check It Out!
Plus, there’s a whole bunch of services you can do online instead of standing in line at the PO!



From masterredfox on July 22, 2020 :: 3:08 pm

It took me many years to get this “service” and I am still waiting for that daily email that will tell me what mail to expect. I can check for packages scheduled for delivery if I post the tracking number manually but I still don’t get the full service. I have found it all depends on your specific area. I live in what is classified as an urban setting and it all depends on whether the delivery mailperson scans all mail scheduled for delivery that specific day. They are using mainly clerks classified as temps, which means they may are assigned to a route on a daily basis and may not do the same route. But they are on a timed delivery schedule so they may not scan your package in a timely manner especially if they miss doing it when they deliver your mail. I have received mail at the regular time and at the of the delivery day, receive a text stating they were unable to find the address, which really means they forgot to deliver. Every carrier has delivery problems which stem from the person doing the delivery.



From Robert on July 21, 2020 :: 8:08 pm

If it happens more than once, then wait for the next deliveries with a big gun & shoot the S.O.B. when he picks it up.



From Masterredfox on July 21, 2020 :: 9:15 pm

I have done the delivery instructions with every single carrier that delivers in my area but the problem is getting the delivery person to get those instructions and read them correctly. I even went through making a phone call directly to the depot and talking to the supervisor who is supposed to make sure those delivery instructions are fully available and visible for the delivery driver but most drivers barely can read the label, let alone read delivery instructions for a specific address delivery. I have resorted to contacting the shipper every time my packages are incorrectly delivered to the wrong location of the building I live at, because I have to also deal with the tenant upstairs from me taking my packages inside the building when the package is delivered to the front door rather than my door. Amazon now knows exactly how I want my deliveries but has had problems with the delivery person in my area and the substitute didn’t want to deliver to my address because they couldn’t differentiate between the multiple names and apartment numbers to delivery correctly.
The article lists great ideas but fails to address the major problem—the delivery person who is the major problem of improper delivery procedures. Why would I choose to have my packages delivered to any place but my door which is in a spot not visible to the street? I believe the main reason why the delivery person tries to not bring it to my door has to do with their laziness.



From Michael Stewart on May 23, 2021 :: 3:52 am

I like how the postal service in cambodia works. If I would include my phone number on the package or mail the post office will call me and tell me i have mail ready to be picked up. If it is a package they will call me and ask me where and when i can meet them. I think most delivery should be like this because it means that more mail delivered and less risk of theft.



From 8675309 on November 07, 2021 :: 7:20 pm

They’ve had deliver to postal outlet for years(besides using flexdelivery). But recently I decided to take a chance on a locker sadly unlike the to door service they offer wasn’t till the evening. With that speed id love to see them add an extra day to pickup. & while im on it would love to see them offer the credits they do in the US for using the slowest shipping option.



From Dorrie on June 14, 2024 :: 1:17 pm

I used to have a sign on my front door that asked for packages to be left against the wall of the porch (out of sight). That helped.

Then 3 years ago I bought a Step2 Express Package Delivery Box on Amazon (currently $60) and it’s been GREAT!

It’s 31"H x 18"W x 23"D, it’s attractive, and it holds 90% of my packages. Occasionally a delivery person will leave my package next to it (!) - but not often.


Home | About | Meet the Team | Contact Us
Media Kit | Newsletter Sponsorships | Licensing & Permissions
Accessibility Statement
Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookie Policy

Techlicious participates in affiliate programs, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provide a small commission from some, but not all, of the "click-thru to buy" links contained in our articles. These click-thru links are determined after the article has been written, based on price and product availability — the commissions do not impact our choice of recommended product, nor the price you pay. When you use these links, you help support our ongoing editorial mission to provide you with the best product recommendations.

© Techlicious LLC.