What to Do If You Have a Lost or Stolen Package

Sometimes packages get lost. But let's face it—most of the time if you're searching for a missing package it's because someone swiped it from your doorstep. Almost 26 million packages were stolen in 2017.¹

Here are steps you can take to get reimbursed for package theft, track down the thief—or scare porch pirates off before they do their dastardly deed.

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What to do if your package is stolen

1. File a police report

If you seriously suspect you've been hit by a porch pirate, and something was stolen from your stoop, call the police and file a police report for the stolen package. Without witnesses, they won’t be able to do much, but they'll take note of the incident. If you have doorbell camera footage, be sure to share it with the officers. Also, let them know the time the delivery service said your package was delivered and when you found it missing.

If others in your neighborhood report the same problems, they’ll be more likely to investigate and find the package thieves.

Filing a police report can also be useful if you try to make an insurance claim on the missing delivery.

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Pro tip

Help stay on top of thefts and other activities in your neighborhood with the Ring Neighbors app. Whether you have the Ring Alarm security system or not, the app can still alert you to incidents (like package theft) in your neighborhood. But it relies on self-reports, so be sure to do your part to help keep your neighbors in the know.

Watch out for post-pandemic porch pirates

From Buffalo, New York to Eugene, Oregon, the pandemic sent package theft soring since more of us were forced to use online shopping.

And pandemic porch pirates got creative. Some women in Kennewick, Washington dressed up as nurses and went on a package-theft spree. Another package thief in Pennsylvania stole a loved one’s ashes off the porch.

We advise increased diligence, even with the pandemic winding down.

  • Track every package.
  • Pick up packages after you get a delivery notice.
  • Make sure you’re getting motion alerts if you have a video doorbell or security camera.
  • Use delivery lockers if you can.

2. Contact the sender

Most of the time, a missing package is something you ordered. In that case, you want to reach out to the seller and let them know that your package hasn't been delivered.

Is the seller responsible for stolen packages? Maybe. It all depends on the site where you made your purchase and its policies. You may want to check with its customer service department.

I've had a lot of luck with companies that send out a replacement right away, no questions asked. But not every company will send you a replacement item or refund your money. Hold on to any proof that supports your claim.

  • Snap a picture if you got a notice of delivery, but the package isn't where they said it was delivered.
  • Keep your order confirmation number and any other details that help the company track down your order.
  • Store delivery numbers and information to share with the company so it can reach out to the carrier.

If the stolen package was sent from a friend or relative, let them know it hasn't been delivered. They can reach out to the seller or the carrier to help figure out what happened.

3. How do I report a stolen package to Amazon?

Start your claim

Amazon is known for its fast Prime shipping and basically no-questions-asked philosophy. If their tracking shows an Amazon package was delivered, but you can’t find it, you should be able to get a refund pretty quickly and easily.

After 36 hours have passed since the stolen Amazon package's expected delivery date, you should contact Amazon. If packages are late, they’ll usually credit your account for the inconvenience. The company handles all the details with third-party sellers (if not their own services), so you won’t need to get involved.

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Pro tip

If you do a lot of shopping on Amazon, you might want to look into Amazon Lockers. These are secure kiosks where you can send your Amazon packages and pick them up at your convenience. Best of all—using an Amazon Locker is completely free.

4. How do I report a stolen FedEx package?

Start your claim

FedEx makes it easy to file lost package claims. If you ordered or shipped something from the US through them, you can file a FedEx stolen package claim online.

FedEx is also pretty speedy. It normally takes just five to seven business days to resolve a claim.

As the sender, recipient, or third-party, you’ll have 60 calendar days to file a claim for damaged or missing contents and up to nine months to file lost item reports. Just make sure you keep all packaging or evidence because FedEx might ask to see it.

5. How do I report a stolen package to UPS?

Start your claim

UPS has different policies for lost or stolen packages depending on whether your package was shipped in the US or internationally.

Domestic shipping: if you order something domestically and it's missing, you can’t file a missing package claim until 24 hours after it was supposed to be delivered.

International shipping: Claims for internationally purchased products are trickier. For these, you won’t be able to file a claim, and it could be difficult to get a refund or replacement.

All claims: Once you file a missing package claim, UPS will investigate. It’s difficult to find out if a package was lost or stolen. Regardless, all missing packages—for whatever reason—are handled this way. If you ordered the product, you should get in contact with the seller, since UPS will issue the refund to them.

6. Contact USPS about a stolen package

Start your claim

USPS stolen packages and missing mail can be more challenging than packages lost by other carriers because it’s trickier to file a claim with USPS.

While its protocol for refunding damaged packages is clear, its process for stolen mail is not. If your package was shipped and delivered by USPS, but it’s missing, you’ll need to file a claim regardless.

  • Have the tracking number ready.
  • Be ready to show proof of insurance.
  • Find proof of the value of the item, if possible.

If your package was stolen and there’s evidence, take photos and submit those too.

If your USPS lost package was insured, you should be able to get a refund directly from USPS. If your USPS package was stolen, you should be able to go through the seller to receive a replacement or refund.

What you can do to prevent package theft (or track down those porch pirates!)

1. Catch them on video

SafeWise recommends
ring video doorbell
Ring Video Doorbell
$99.99
Pro Bullet 2-way audio
Pro Bullet Motion sensor
Pro Bullet Cloud recording

*Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

If you have a doorbell camera or an outdoor security camera, use it to your benefit.

Watch the footage if an expected package is nowhere to be found. You can check if the carrier dropped off the package or if someone walked away with it.

Report it to your local police department if you spot a theft. Or, if you can prove no one ever showed up at your door, the carrier (if you’re the shipper) or shipper (if you’re the recipient) will be forced to refund you.

Get proof of delivery or theft by installing a camera on your porch. There's a great variety of smart doorbells and home security cameras these days. Some send instant alerts through apps, and others simply record footage. 

2. Shine a light on the situation

SafeWise recommends
mr beams wireless spotlight
Mr. Beams Wireless Spotlight
$24.99
Pro Bullet Affordable
Pro Bullet Easy to install
Pro Bullet Durable

*Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Porch pirates like to skulk in the shadows. Add a motion-activated light to your porch to send thieves scurrying away.

You can even find motion light and security camera combos. That way, you have a blinding deterrent and a way to catch the culprits in action.

Tell us about your lost or stolen package experience

Falling victim to package theft is never fun—neither is dealing with faulty carriers. We hope this guide will help you take preventative measures, get your money back, or get a replacement quickly.

If you have any advice about how you recovered a lost or stolen package, tell us about it below! It’s always helpful to hear first-hand accounts.


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Data as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject change. SafeWise.com uses paid Amazon links.
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Sources:

1. Insurance Quotes, “How to Keep Porch Pirates and House Fires From Making Your Holidays Hazardous.” Accessed June 14, 2022.

Disclaimer

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past eight. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime reports and spotting trends. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, NPR, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.

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