The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has tips to help keep porch pirates from stealing the booty being delivered to doorsteps during the holidays. Remember, report suspicious activity – such as an unfamiliar vehicle is following behind mail/package delivery trucks or an unknown person is hovering around mailboxes in the neighborhood – by calling local law enforcement.
• Don’t leave mail or parcels unattended, especially overnight. Being left alone even for a few hours on the porch can put packages at risk of being stolen.
• Ask a neighbor to help. A stay-at-home neighbor may be willing to have packages delivered to their address or at least pick up and keep secure packages that expected to arrive on a given day.
• Consider an alternate shipping address. Employers may allow a small number of personal items to be delivered to a work address.
• Use the USPS tracking system. USPS and other delivery services provide real-time tracking for a wide-range of products. Registered users of USPS.com can also receive status updates via text alerts delivered to mobile devices.
• Change of plans? Change the package’s delivery address while it’s in transit! USPS Package Intercept allows domestic packages to be redirected to the sender, a new address, or to the Post Office to be held for pickup. The service is fee-based, but charges only apply if the package is successfully re-directed.
• Customize delivery. Provide the Postal Service personalized instructions
Provide delivery instructions online and authorize the carrier to leave it in a specified location. Visit USPS.com, track packages, and select Delivery Instructions. Request that a package be left with a neighbor or held at a Post Office for pickup.
• Ship using “Hold for Pickup” to the local Post Office. Priority Mail Express Hold for Pickup service lets customers claim packages on their schedule, at more than 30,000 USPS locations, where packages are kept safe and secure. Automatic notifications via e-mail or SMS text messaging are also available.
• On vacation? Hold mail at the Post Office. If out of town for a period of time, use the Postal Service’s Request Hold Mail service. Letters and packages will be held securely until retrieved.
• Secure shipments using USPS Signature Services. The Postal Service’s Signature Services requires a signature at time of delivery.
• Protect packages and insure valuable contents. Opt for Registered Mail service – the Postal Service’s most secure form of mail delivery. Registered Mail receives special-handling from tender to delivery. Electronic verification of delivery or attempted delivery is available upon request. Insurance may also be available to protect against loss or damage.
• Control the package delivery date using Priority Mail Express. Priority Mail Express is the Postal Service’s fastest domestic service (with limited exceptions), available 365 days a year. It offers a money-back guarantee and overnight scheduled delivery to most U.S. addresses – including post office boxes. Proof of delivery signature record, tracking services, and $100 insurance (most shipments) is available with this service.
• Upgrade the security for all mail, not just parcels. Consider renting a post office box at the local post office. Mail remains secure within the post office, accessible only when using the right key or combination. Many post offices lobbies are open 24/7, allowing convenient retrieval.
For more information on USPS products and services, visit USPS.com.