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5 crafty ways to keep thieves from stealing your packages

Jeanie Ahn
Senior Producer/Reporter

The holidays are the season of giving – and taking. According to one 2015 survey, 23 million Americans say they’ve had packages stolen right from their doorsteps. And that number is expected to go up as more people shop online. In fact, it just happened to me a few weeks ago on an item I ordered online on Black Friday.

With the holidays coming up and more online deliveries coming my way, having more packages stolen is the last thing I need so I looked into some ways I could prevent it from happening again.

#1 Track your package in real time

You can get text or email alerts on the status of your delivery and track your package all the way to your door. On UPS’s site, the free service, UPS MYCHOICE, allows you to you reroute your package to the closest access point where you can pick it up if you don’t expect to be home on time. On FedEx’s delivery manager, both the mobile app and site allow you to choose a window of time for your delivery to arrive, for a small fee.

#2 Rent a mailbox

Some carriers won’t deliver to a P.O. box, so look into a mailbox rental service that gives you a real street address and package-acceptance from all carriers. But before signing up, shop around in your neighborhood to see who offers the best rates as most locations are independently owned, so rates and minimum length agreements vary.

#3 Bolt a lockbox outside your door

If you live in a house where you can bolt a box to a stone, concrete or wood surface, you might want to invest in a parcel drop box or lock box. For $130, you can mount this steel Gorilla Box to the side of your home. Or for $500, Landport offers a large lockbox with a keycode that you can give to your delivery man. It’s a hefty price, but it can store quite a bit, making it a good solution for small businesses, too.

#4 Monitor your entrance with a doorbell camera

The going rate for a DIY doorbell cam that you can install on your own is around $200. Once the device is connected to your wi-fi, you can access a clear view of your entrance anytime of day. Many of these doorbell cameras also allow you to speak to whoever is at your door.

If that’s too high-tech for you to do on your own, there are services like Vivint that install smart-home security solutions for about $60 a month if you sign for a 3- to 5-year contract. It comes with a doorbell camera that even lets you control the locks with the tap of your finger — so you can talk to your delivery man and ask him to leave the package inside your door once you unlock it for a few seconds.

#5 Scare thieves away with an easy trick

All of the suggestions above can be great for long-term security solutions, but what about a quick and dirty trick? For less than $20, buy and install a dummy video camera. All you need are some batteries to make the record light blink and the ability to keep a secret. I’ve done it before and no one ever knew it was fake…until now.

What are some ways you’re safeguarding yourself from being a victim? Reach out to me on Twitter or share them in the comments below.

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