How to Prevent Package Theft and What to Do When It Happens


Online shopping is a bane and a boon for digital natives. Not only do you have access to millions of goods worldwide, but you also have the help of reviews, promotions, and shipping discounts.

However, online shopping is not without its own set of challenges. Aside from not being able to test products or hold them in your hand before a purchase, the world of online shopping is also full of scammers and thieves.

The Rise of Package Theft

According Safewise, 64.1 percent of Americans have experienced package theft in 2020. With an estimated 210 million packages stolen in the United States alone and each package worth around $50 to $200, the cost of package theft is collectively worth around $2.625 billion dollars annually.

With 75 percent of Americans likely to experience package theft in their lifetime, it seems an unavoidable experience for most people. However, there are plenty of methods which you can try to make it less likely to happen to you.

How to Protect Yourself From Package Theft

When it comes to protecting yourself from package theft, you need to cover all your bases. Unfortunately, package theft doesn’t just happen outside your home, but also during every stage of the delivery process.

In recent times, there have even been cases of package theft occurring inside the warehouse or during delivery. For this reason, it’s best to protect yourself from package theft throughout every stage of the online shopping process. Here’s how.

Get Package Insurance

While not all retailers offer package insurance, many delivery services do. If you are purchasing an expensive item, you may want to consider asking for a delivery company which has package insurance options.

During delivery, there are plenty of ways items could be damaged. For example, the contents of a package could be affected by rain or mishandling. Aside from this, package insurance can protect you in case theft occurs at any point before it arrives in your home.

Install Security Cameras

One of the most practical ways to avoid package theft is to install security cameras at your front door or delivery location. While the Safewise survey revealed that 58 percent of victims reported having their packages stolen even if they had security measures such as cameras in place, 34 percent were able to get proof of the theft on camera.

surveillance camera

If you don’t have the budget for security cameras yet, you can use a fake security camera with a red light. In some cases, simulating having a security camera is enough deterrent for thieves.

Thankfully, there are many security cameras available on the market at a variety of price points.

Take Videos When Opening the Product

In some cases, packages appear to arrive in perfect condition, but actually contain the wrong product. In fact, some online shoppers even report receiving empty boxes, inside sealed boxes as well.

When disputing the arrival of a perfectly sealed box, it can be difficult to get support on your case. For this reason, it is best to take videos of you unboxing your packages, especially for expensive items.

Open the Package in Front of the Delivery Driver

If you can accept packages directly from the delivery driver, it is best to open small items while they’re still there. Aside from a video of you opening a package, having a third-party validate your story as a witness can make a huge difference during investigations. This might be difficult or impractical, however, as most delivery drivers have quotas and tight schedules, so might be unwilling to stick around at all. Nonetheless, if a parcel is visibly damaged, you could ask them to just hold on a minute while you check the contents.

Pay With Credit Card

Although not all credit card companies will accept package theft as a reason for cancelling a charge, some will. In addition, it’s easier to reverse a credit card transaction versus a debit card or cash.

person holding credit card while shopping online

You can also use PayPal or similar services, including retailers, which offer Buyer Protection.

Turn On Delivery Notifications

If possible, it’s best to set up notifications for your package deliveries. While you can’t always be home to receive deliveries, knowing when they’re on the way can help you or members of your household manage their time.

A great way to keep your packages away from porch pirates is to make sure they aren’t exposed for too long. To do this, there are plenty of package tracking apps which you can download.

What to Do When a Theft Occurs

When you’ve determined that a package was really stolen (and not lost), here are the four important steps you need to take: gather evidence, file a dispute with your retailer, notify your insurance provider, and file a police report.

Gather Evidence

One of the first things you have to do when a package has been stolen is gather evidence. With this, you have the information necessary to prove the incident took place. Here are some types of evidence you can include:

  • Receipts of purchase.
  • Delivery notifications.
  • Correspondences with deliverer.
  • Security camera footage of the theft.
  • Witness accounts by neighbors or delivery personnel.

Afterwards, you can include these documents in a single folder or PDF file, so you can easily send them to the authorities for review.

File a Dispute With Your Retailer

Delivery Man

Depending on how big the retailer is, you can either call their hotline, talk to their agent, message them on social media, or email them.

Before speaking with your retailer, make sure you have your story with the corresponding evidence in place. Relay your experience to the best of your ability, so the retailer has all the information necessary to make an informed decision.

While some retailers have systems for replacements and refunds, not all of them will, especially if you’ve made a purchase from a small business. If they do help you out and give you a replacement, make sure you thank them publicly for their efforts.

Notify Your Insurance Provider

Should the package include an item with package insurance, you will also need to file with your insurance provider for claims. If you have used an agent to file your insurance, message them regarding your concern and attach the necessary documentation requested.

File a Police Report

In some cases, retailers will withhold responsibility for package theft, unless the theft was validated by authorities. For this reason, you may need to file an official police report to your local police to verify the theft.

You may be requested to file an affidavit of loss, which is your sworn statement that the package was truly stolen. Aside from this, police officials may assist you in your search for the thief.

Keep Your Package Safe From Thieves


While online shopping is definitely here to stay, package theft doesn’t have to be a part of your life forever. By taking steps to prevent package theft and knowing what to do when it happens, you can reduce the amount of stress from losing your deliveries.

Although online shopping is convenient, consider buying some things in person when possible. After all, there are plenty of advantages to buying in-store, especially when it comes to electronics.

Man With Shopping Cart

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