A thief was recorded by a home security camera assessing a package on the porch. Photo: Travis Paterson

A thief was recorded by a home security camera assessing a package on the porch. Photo: Travis Paterson

Porch pirates trying to steal Christmas

Recent FedEx survey found one in three online shoppers have experienced package theft in 2020

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is urging British Columbians to watch out for ‘porch pirates’.

With holiday shopping fully underway and millions of packages being delivered on a daily basis across the province, people are stealing packages from the porch or front door of unsuspecting customers.

A recent FedEx survey found that one in three online shoppers say they have experienced package theft in 2020, up from one in four in 2019. BBB is also receiving reports from online shoppers who thought they were scammed by an online retailer, only to find out their packages were swiped by porch pirates.

“Do not run the risk of leaving your packages unattended, even if it’s just for a short period of time,” urged Karla Laird, Manager for Community and Public Relations at BBB. “Porch pirates target affluent and/or suburban neighbourhoods as well as apartment buildings where they notice large volumes of packages being delivered on a daily basis.

“They oftentimes drive behind branded delivery vehicles and try to capitalize on opportunities where packages are left on doorsteps. Pretending to be delivery drivers, sometimes wearing caps and vests, they easily walk up to people’s front doors and move packages within minutes of them being dropped off.”

With package theft being at an all time high, BBB is sharing the following tips to help you fight back and prevent porch pirates from stealing Christmas:

– Take advantage of online tracking services offered by retailers. Some retailers have updated their tracking information to let recipients know the time window in which their packages may be delivered. If so, make sure someone is around to collect the delivery.

– Monitor the front door. If you have a home security camera system, make sure it captures activity at your front door and mailbox. If you catch any mail thieves in the act, save the video and alert law enforcement. The thieves may be targeting your neighbourhood and video surveillance can be very helpful in preventing these crimes.

– Customize the delivery. If you know the package is going to be larger than the mailbox, authorize the carrier to leave it in a specified out-of-sight location. A safer solution is to request pick-up at their facility.

– Secure the shipment. Signature confirmations ensure that the package ends up in the right hards. Register your most valuable packages so special care and documentation is used every step of the way. Ship your packages to where you are, not where you aren’t.

– Talk to your employer. If you are working in the office and will not be home to collect your packages, ask if they can allow you to have them delivered there instead.

Watch for suspicious activity. If you notice something out of place in your neighbourhood, provide a detailed report to law enforcement.