How to Prevent Amazon Package Theft: 8 Security Moves

If you tend to skip the strip mall in favor of online aisles, you know the worry that comes when your delivered packages are left vulnerable on your doorstep. And these worries are well founded.

According to a study by Insurance Quotes, 18% of American shoppers had packages stolen in 2020.1

Don’t let your hassle-free Amazon deliveries fall victim to package thieves. Tracking down stolen items defeats the purpose of all that online convenience and causes unneeded anxiety.

Thankfully, you can take security measures to keep your delivered goodies safe even when you’re not at home. Here are eight smart moves you can make to foil the plans of porch pirates and prevent package theft.



From our expert

Ben Stickle

Dr. Ben Stickle is an expert on criminal justice and theft—he's also a member of the SafeWise advisory group. We added some extra package protection tips from him throughout our guide about how porch pirates thrive on opportunity.

1. Install security cameras

Install security cameras
Nest outdoor security camera

*Amazon.com list price as of 03/18/2021 at 3:43 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Security cameras do double-duty when it comes to protecting your online purchases. Not only can they alert you to a delivery, but they can also record if someone gets away with a package.

Across the country, security cameras are helping people identify and track down porch pirates. A Google search for news about package thieves caught on camera brought up more than 40,000 results.

Look for cameras with motion detectors that can alert you to movement on the porch via your smartphone or other mobile device. Cameras that record and play back activity are also helpful in the event you do get a delivery swiped.

The Google Nest Cam Outdoor security camera sends a text or email when it detects movement, and it allows for continuous recording and two-way communication so you can  see, hear, and respond to what’s going on.

2. Get to know delivery people

Not all security measures are high tech. When it comes to protecting your items, it still pays to be on friendly terms with the drivers who make deliveries in your neighborhood. When you know your delivery person, that means that they also know your package preferences.

You can let your delivery people know where and when you prefer to have packages delivered, and they can recommend alternative options if you’re expecting a lot of packages when you’ll be away from home.

Most delivery drivers have some discretion regarding deliveries. If something seems off at your home, a delivery person who knows you is more likely choose to leave you a notice about an attempted delivery instead of leaving your valuables at risk.

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Schedule your delivery

Amazon Day Delivery allows Prime subscribers to schedule all eligible deliveries on up to two specific days each week. This way, you don't need to worry about packages coming every day or when you're swamped with activities. If you need something before your Amazon Day, you can select normal shipping at checkout.

3. Use an Amazon Locker

If you’re already an Amazon Prime member, then you’ll love the convenience and safety of Amazon Lockers. These are self-service lockers that let you safely pick up your Amazon purchases at a nearby location (like a convenience store or Whole Foods) when you're ready to take them home.

Amazon Lockers eliminate the need to have items delivered to your home, and they keep your packages secure until you’re available to pick them up. Lockers are currently available nationwide at more than 2,800 locations in over 70 major metropolitan areas.

If you don't have an Amazon Locker location nearby, you can search for other package delivery lockers through UPS Access. Or, you can buy a personal package locker or dropbox for your front porch.

Simply leave the locker open, and when a package is dropped off, the delivery person closes and locks it—keeping it safe until you return. Just make sure your locker is secured to the porch or heavy enough that a thief can't walk away with the whole thing.

Bell
Don't wait too long to visit the Amazon Locker

John Carlsen, one of SafeWise's writers, notes that you should pick up your Amazon Locker delivery within three days to avoid it returning to Amazon—like it once did with him. You'll get a refund on the cost, but it's inconvenient to reorder.

4. Upgrade your mailbox

Upgrade your mailbox
Epoch MailBoss Locking Mailbox
Mail Boss
$95.96

*Amazon.com list price as of 03/18/2021 at 3:43 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

One of the best ways to ensure that a package won’t be taken from your porch is to make sure it isn’t left out in the open. There are a number of lockboxes and secure parcel drops that can either replace your current mailbox or be added specifically for package delivery.

If you receive packages delivered by the United States Postal Service (USPS), be sure the drop box you install is USPS-approved.

For FedEx and UPS deliveries, a Landport lockbox is an attractive option that comes in a variety of sizes and styles to match your home’s aesthetic. Other options include the Mail Boss Locking Mailbox, which is perfect for small parcels, and the Qualarc Locking Package Delivery Box, which can receive larger deliveries. 

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From our expert: Eliminating opportunity for porch pirates

Dr. Stickle says, "I would stress the importance that opportunity is key. If the package is not there long, or can't be seen, or can't be accessed, then it is less likely to get stolen. The 'best' methods combine all of these—as in a locked box that people can't see inside and is emptied each night. Next, would be hiding a package or removing it quickly."

5. Network with neighbors

Another good security practice is to collaborate with neighbors to fight package theft. Agree to look out for strangers in the neighborhood, and keep an eye on deliveries at one another’s homes.

You may be able to have packages delivered to a neighbor who will be home. Or, you can ask a neighbor to grab a package off your porch if you’re alerted to a delivery via a security camera or delivery notification.

Teaming up with neighbors is a smart way to keep your deliveries—and your whole neighborhood—secure. You can also help in a pinch by receiving deliveries for others or find a nearby neighbor who will accept your packages.

Checklist
From our expert: Neighborhood online

Consider joining neighborhood social media accounts to share tips, warn of suspicious behavior, and post photos of package thieves.

6. Add a smart doorbell

Add a smart doorbell
Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen)

*Amazon.com list price as of 03/18/2021 at 3:43 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

You don’t have to have a complete security system to keep an eye on package deliveries. A smart doorbell might be the simple solution you need to keep purchases safe.

These Wi-Fi enabled doorbell cameras let you see—and talk to—whoever is at the front door, whether you’re in the kitchen or at the office. The Ring Video Doorbell includes a motion-activated camera, two-way audio, and an app that sends alerts to your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

The presence of a video doorbell might keep your packages from being stolen—or help you catch the person who committed the dastardly deed if a thief does take off with your goods.

7. Use Amazon Key

In-home delivery is difficult to get if you're not at home. But Amazon has you covered.

Key by Amazon is another way to prevent Amazon package theft. This free app lets Amazon delivery drivers safely place your packages inside your garage, car, gate, or home.

With Amazon Key, you can remotely grant access to delivery people to make sure your packages are always delivered securely. You can schedule deliveries and get real-time alerts (and live video footage) about the status of your package.

Amazon Key isn't available in all areas, and you can only get Amazon Key deliveries if you're an Amazon Prime member. Here's what you need to know to find out if you're eligible for Amazon Key. (Note that all Amazon Key services vary in area availability.)

In-home delivery

  • Key for Home works with compatible smart locks and cameras.
  • You might need to buy a Smart Lock Kit to set up Key for Home.

In-garage delivery

  • Key for Garage requires a compatible garage door.
  • You may need a Smart Garage Kit to use Key for Garage.
  • You can check online to see if your garage door is compatible and if Key for Garage is available in your area.

In-gate delivery

  • Key for Gate requires professional installation of a Ring Access Controller Pro.
  • You need to pair the gate controller with a Ring video doorbell or security camera.

In-car delivery

  • Key for Car works with eligible Acura, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Lincoln, Honda, and Volvo cars.
  • You need a connected car service like OnStar, On Call, FordPass, or Lincoln Way to use Key for Car.
  • Amazon Key for Car deliveries can be made as long as your car is parked within two blocks of the delivery address.

8. Pick up packages in person

It may not be quite as convenient as receiving deliveries at your front door, but one sure way to guarantee safety is to have packages held at the post office or delivery service store until you can pick them up yourself.

Both FedEx and UPS provide options for you to have packages held at a local location rather than dropped off at your home. Another way to ensure secure delivery is to require a signature upon receipt. That way, if you’re not home to accept the delivery, your packages won’t be left unattended.

Another way to prevent package theft is to sign up for package delivery tracking. Most delivery companies—including Amazon—let you track your package from the warehouse right up to your porch.

I get alerts from Amazon, USPS, and UPS that tell me when my delivery is within five or fewer stops of my house. That way I can either make sure I'm home when the package is delivered, or ask a friend or neighbor to grab it for me.

Tracking your deliveries is a great way to make sure your packages land in your hands—not those of a porch pirate.

Notepad
From our expert: Assess your home

"No matter what you do, reducing opportunity is the key. However, that varies for each person/place. If your home has lots of traffic in front and is close to the road, you may need a higher level of security efforts than other homes. So you need to consider your risk and develop security appropriately."

Final word

With more shopping conducted online than ever before, it’s important to keep your goods secure upon delivery.

Unfortunately, we can’t always be home, but that doesn’t mean we need to give package poachers an invitation to nab our purchases.

Use the package theft prevention tips we’ve provided and explore other home security options to make sure your deliveries don’t get disrupted by thieves.

Related articles on SafeWise


Sources

1. Michael Giusti, Insurance Quotes, "2020 Porch Pirates in the Age of COVID-19 Report," December 2020. Accessed March 18, 2021.

Disclaimers

*Amazon.com list price as of 03/18/2021 at 3:43 p.m. (MT). 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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