by Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert
The holiday shopping season is in full swing. If you're like me, your moving away from shopping for your favorite computers and electronic devices in brick and mortar stores and doing your Christmas shopping at online stores.
Why wouldn't you? It's convenient and it's quick, with online stores delivering your gadgets in a matter of days. With more and more people buying high ticket electronics online, there has been a rise of packages being stolen by porch pirates. They're riding in your neighborhoods, snatching your packages up, trying to take them so you need to do something to protect those packages.
Want to make sure your gadgets make it under the tree this year? Here's what you can do to stop porch pirates from running off with your stuff and what to do if they are hijacked by a porch pirate.
1. Have Your Packages Delivered to Your Work Place, a P.O. Box, or Use Ship To Store.
Probably one of the best ways to stop porch pirates in their tracks is to avoid shipping to your home. Even if you work from home or you are at home the majority of the time, porch pirates can still get your stuff.
These crafty individuals will follow FedEx and UPS trucks so they can pounce immediately after your package has been delivered. Having your packages shipped to a location other than your porch is a smart move, especially during the holiday season.
2. Install a Smart Doorbell or Home Camera Security System.
Yes, I know there are a ton of videos of people caught on camera stealing packages even in the presence of a smart door bell such as a Ring (www.ring.com), but they really do work as a way keeping people off your property.
If installed and used properly, smart home monitoring systems like Ring, Nest (www.nest.com), or Belkin (www.belkin) can keep your alerted when someone is near your door and allow you to capture on video any activity that occurs. With video, you have a means to retrieve your stolen gadgets.
3. Sign up for delivery alerts and have Your Neighbors Help.
Most online retailers offer alerts to let you know when your electronics leave the shipping center and more importantly when they arrive at your door. Alerts can help you take action to make sure your get your gadgets. If you're not able to be home for package delivery, ask a trusted neighbor to get it for you. Also, If possible, require a signature for all deliveries.
4. Help Out Your Neighbors.
If you work from home, or are home during the day, make a post on Nextdoor (www.nextdoor.com) or in your neighborhood Facebook group (www.facebook.com) and offer to allow your neighbors to ship their packages and electronics to your house.
Also, keep an eye out for suspicious things in your neighborhood. If you notice something that doesn't seem right, check with your neighbors or contact the authorities for help.
5. Use free secure delivery lockers offered by Amazon. Amazon offers self service lockers that allow you to ship your gadgets to a locker. You have 3 days to get your items out of the locker. For more details, check out Amazon's website (www.amazon.com).
If you have been a victim of a porch pirate do the following things:
1. File a Police Report
2. Contact the shipper.
If your gadgets were delivered via US Postal Service, fill out a Missing Mail Search Request.
If it was delivered by UPS, you need to contact the shipper.
If it was delivered by FedEx, you can go to their web site and fill out their online form for missing packages.
Want to ask me a tech question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I love technology. I've read all of the manuals and I'm serious about making technology fun and easy to use for everyone.
Need computer or technology help? If you need on-site or remote tech support for your Windows\Macintosh, computers, laptops, Android/Apple smartphone, tablets, printers, routers, smart home devices, and anything that connects to the Internet, please feel free to contact my team at Integral. Our team of friendly tech experts organization can help you with any IT needs you might have. Reach out to us a www.callintegralnow.com or phone at 888.256.0829.