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Avoid porch pirates: How to prevent stolen packages from Amazon, UPS and more

Close-up of Amazon Prime package outdoors in an office park
(Image credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

"Porch pirates," or thieves who loot packages left on doorsteps, seem to strike more frequently during the holiday season. As Black Friday and Cyber Monday online purchases begin to arrive, you might be wondering how to prevent stolen packages from Amazon, UPS and other major deliverers. 

Don't fall victim to the package theft epidemic. Here are measures you can take now to save the headache of filing lost holiday package claims later.

Avoid stolen packages from Amazon with Amazon Key

There are a couple of methods to keep your Amazon packages safe. If you're an Amazon Prime member, chances are you have packages delivered regularly. In which case you might consider investing in Amazon Key.

Amazon Key is a decent solution for having Amazon Prime shipments dropped right inside your front door, garage or car trunk. The system consists of a smart lock and the Amazon Cloud Cam security camera, which ends up costing about $300. 

When the Amazon driver approaches your house with the package, the Amazon Key app unlocks your door or trunk while a camera begins recording the drop off. The app then requires the driver to confirm that the entrance has been relocked before departure.

Avoid stolen packages from Amazon with Amazon Day

(Image credit: Amazon)

If you'd rather not purchase additional tech to protect your packages, you can use an Amazon delivery feature called Amazon Day. As long as you're a Prime Member, you can use Amazon Day to select a specific day you want your package delivered. That way you can plan to be home to pick up your package in person. 

Use a video doorbell to stop porch pirates

Ring video doorbell Pro

(Image credit: Ring)

Video doorbells like the Ring Video Doorbell 2 and Nest Hello could help fend off porch pirates. The best video doorbells notify you about motion by your door, so you can see when a package is dropped off. And, subsequently, if a curious thief approaches.

While a porch pirate might still nab your delivery, you can use the footage from the doorbell to identify the bad actor.  

Additional ways to prevent stolen packages

Of course, there are old fashioned means to prevent your packages from being stolen. Consider having your goods delivered to your work office, or to a trustworthy person you know will be home. 

You can also request in your order notes that your package be signed for upon delivery. That way the courier will have to ring your doorbell and meet your, rather than dump the package at your door and dip. 

Additionally, you can request that the deliveryman leave your package out of plain sight. If you have a fake plant or hidden nook near your door, leave an order note with clear directions for drop off.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at