Prevent "porch piracy" this season
One of the unintended consequences of increased use of eCommerce is the increase in package theft.
More than three-quarters of us utilize online shopping when buying for the holidays, and some people don't even shop in person at all anymore!
Here are five steps you can take to reduce the chances that a porch pirate will walk off with your holiday cheer before you even know it's arrived:
1. No package, no pirate. Consider renting a post office box for deliveries or choose safe pickup options (at a store or package locker).
2. Ask for out-of-sight delivery. While not an option with all shippers, some allow you to specify a drop-off location hidden from plain sight – something like "inside the carport" or "behind the planter." You also can install a lockbox or, if you're a frequent Amazon user, consider their remote access application (Key by Amazon), which allows packages to be delivered inside your garage, home or car.
3. Request delivery confirmation. Many delivery services offer to send electronic alerts and/or require a recipient's signature before dropping off a package. If you require a signature and you're not there to sign, you can ask the shipping company to reschedule your delivery.
4. Install a video doorbell. This technology can allow you to (safely) catch a thief in the act and let them know you're watching. PEMCO shared these thoughts with Q13 Weekend Morning News when asked "Is it worth it?" to buy a video doorbell. (Spoiler alert – yes, but you'll want to make sure you position it well and that your WiFi is up to the task.) If you do install one, let us know, because you'll qualify for a discount on your homeowner or renter insurance.
5. Consider package insurance. If your holiday gift does fall victim to porch pirates, at least you'll be able to replace it. PEMCO shared these package-insurance tips with Q13.
If you do decide to skip the virtual "add to cart," and are opting for an in-person experience, check out these safety tips to protect yourself and your car in busy (and chaotic!) parking lots.
Holiday Shopping Safety Tips
1. Slow down. Way down. You'll have more time to react to that driver who backs first and looks later or, even worse, a distracted pedestrian or runaway toddler.
2. Pick a pull-through, if possible. Most parking lot accidents involve backing. Less backing equals fewer accidents.
3. Pick larger spots, even if they're farther away. If a spot is hard to get into, it will be even tougher for you (and the neighboring car) to get out. Walking a little farther may save you a door ding, or worse.
4. Steer clear of the cart return. A rushed shopper's errant aim may send a cart barreling into your fender. In other words, try to avoid parking close to the cart return. A careless shopper may accidentally hurtle one towards your vehicle.
5. Don't leave packages in your car. Never unload gifts in your car then leave it parked in the same spot if you're returning to the store for another round of shopping. Potential thieves may be watching you. Also, stow your purchases in the trunk or cargo area (concealed with a cargo cover). Car prowlers almost always look inside cars before risking a break-in, and keeping the parcels out of sight reduces your risk.
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