How to Stop Porch Pirates From Stealing Your Packages

how to stop porch pirates

As online shopping becomes more convenient, porch piracy is becoming a bigger problem. In fact, 36% of online shoppers have had at least one package stolen from their porch or front yard, according to a report from C+R Research. Here’s how you can stop porch pirates from stealing your packages, and what you can do if your Amazon, USPS, FedEx, or UPS package is stolen.

What is a Porch Pirate?

A porch pirate is a term for someone who steals packages from another person’s porch or front doorstep. These thieves often follow delivery trucks and wait for the driver to drop a package off on a quiet street. Then they can quickly steal a package and run off undetected.

How to Stop Porch Pirates

To stop porch pirates from stealing your packages, you can install a video doorbell, a smart camera, or use Amazon Key. You can also have your parcels delivered to another address or require someone to sign for the package upon delivery.

Install a Video Doorbell

Just the sight of a video doorbell is enough to deter most porch pirates these days. These devices will send you a notification whenever motion is detected around your home. You can then review the recorded footage to see who’s been lurking outside your home.

With a video doorbell, you will be able to monitor your front porch live or watch video clips that are automatically recorded whenever motion is detected in certain areas. Most video doorbells these days let you set “activity zones,” so you won’t get a notification every time someone drives down the street.

You can also use the two-way audio system to talk to any potential porch pirates and stop them in their tracks. Or you can talk to the delivery driver and tell them where to leave your package.

video doorbell
(Image Source: Ring)

If you’re in the market for a video doorbell, take our short quiz to find the best video doorbell for you.

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Install a Smart Camera System

If you don’t get your packages delivered in front of your door, you can also install smart security cameras. These devices offer more security features than video doorbells, and you can place them anywhere around your home.

Some smart cameras can even tell the difference between a familiar face, a package delivery, and a stranger. This way, you will only get a notification when a stranger sets off the motion detector. However, you will usually have to pay for a monthly subscription in order to get these features and more.

Arlo video doorbell notification 3
(Image Source: Arlo)

While a smart camera or video doorbell might not stop porch pirates, you will have a video clip of the incident. These video clips will make it easier to get a refund or replacement.

Check out our article on the best smart home security cameras to find out more.

Get Your Packages Delivered Inside Your Home or Garage

With an Amazon Key subscription, you won’t need to leave your packages sitting on your front porch. All you need is a smart lock or a smart garage door opener, and Amazon will deliver your packages just inside your door, even when you’re not home.

In order to sign up for Amazon Key, you have to be a Prime member. You will also need a smart lock or smart garage door opener. This way, you can give an authorized Amazon delivery driver access, even when you’re not at home. You might also want to get a smart camera, so you can watch the delivery take place as it happens or review the footage at a later time.

There are only certain smart devices that work with Amazon Key, including the myQ smart garage door opener by Chamberlain and smart locks from Yale Key, Schlage, and Kwikset. Currently, Amazon Key is only available in 50 cities and surrounding areas.

use amazon key to stop porch pirates
(Image Source: myQ)

If you want to know more about what Amazon Key is, and how you can sign up, check out our article here.

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Use an Amazon Hub Locker

If you don’t feel comfortable letting Amazon drivers into your home, you can also have them drop your packages off at an Amazon Hub locker location. Each Amazon Hub location has large lockers where you can store your packages until you’re ready to pick them up.

To use an Amazon Hub location, just add it as your delivery address at checkout. Then Amazon will send you a notification along with a collection barcode that you can show to the person at the counter or scan at a locker to retrieve your package.

amazon hub stop porch pirates what to do if amazon package is stolen
(Image Source: Amazon)

There are thousands of Amazon Hub locations across the nation, and using one is totally free. However, you will only have 14 days to pick up your package at a location with a counter or three days at a location with only lockers.

If you want to find an Amazon Hub location near you, visit Amazon’s website and enter your address.

Ask the Post Office to Hold Your Packages

The United States Postal Service (USPS) will hold all your mail for free. Then you can pick up your packages at your local post office within 30 days. You can even have another person pick up your packages for you, as long as they have proper identification.  

To sign up for USPS Hold Mail, just submit a request at the USPS website. You will then be given a confirmation number that you need to hold on to in order to pick up your packages or make any changes to your request.

Redirect Your Package to a Local Store

If your package is being sent by FedEx, you can request it to be redirected to a local FedEx store, a Walgreens, or other locations near you. All you have to do is sign up for FedEx Delivery Manager, and they will hold your packages for up to seven days for free.

pick up package at walgreens to stop porch pirates
(Image Source: FedEx)

UPS will also hold your packages for up to seven days at a UPS Store, a UPS customer center, a UPS Access Point, or other locations near you. However, this service requires that you sign up for a paid UPS My Choice membership.

Deliver Your Package to Another Location

You can also stop porch pirates by having your package delivered to another location, such as a neighbor’s home or your workplace. If you plan on having your package delivered to a friend or family member, make sure they will be home to sign for it.

Delivering your packages to your workplace is also another good way to stop porch pirates. Most businesses will usually have some kind of mailroom, which is usually much more secure than your front porch.


Require a Signature

During the checkout process, many retailers will give you the option to require a signature for a delivery, even if your package is already on its way. This is perhaps the easiest way to stop porch pirates from stealing your packages.

require a signatiure to stop porch pirates from stealing your packages what to do

 Even if you know how to stop porch pirates, it doesn’t mean you won’t ever have your packages stolen. Here’s what you can do if your Amazon, USPS, FedEx, or UPS package is stolen.

What to Do if Your Package Is Stolen

If you think your package is stolen, you should contact your shipping carrier and file a claim. Make sure to have your tracking number and any evidence that it was stolen, such as photos or videos ready.

What to Do if Your Amazon Package Is Stolen

If you think that your Amazon package is stolen, you should wait at least 48 hours before filing a claim. Amazon has a convenient A-Z Guarantee that refunds stolen, missing, or damaged items within 90 days from the maximum estimated delivery date. 

what to do if amazon package is stolen

What to Do if Your USPS Package Is Stolen

If you think your USPS package is stolen, you should wait for seven business days first before filing a missing mail claim. If your package is insured, USPS can give you a direct refund. Otherwise, they will only cover your shipping costs, and you will need to ask your seller for an item refund or replacement.

What to Do if Your FedEx Package Is Stolen

If you think your FedEx package was stolen, either you or the seller can file a claim online. If your package is insured, FedEx usually covers up to $100 for the package’s total costs, including shipping and the item itself. FedEx can typically resolve claims within five to seven business days. 

For damaged items or missing components in your package, FedEx gives you up to 60 days to file a claim. If you did not receive your package at all, FedEx will give you up to nine months to file a claim.

What to Do if Your UPS Package Is Stolen

If you think your UPS package is stolen, you will need to wait 24 hours before either you or the seller can file a claim. Remember to keep in touch with the seller because UPS will refund the missing item to them. It will then be up to the seller to give you a refund or send you a replacement.

If you’re a victim of porch piracy, you should also file a police report, especially if you have pictures or video recordings of the crime. Just make sure that you call the police through the non-emergency line.


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