Holiday shopping season is upon us and your (not-so) friendly neighborhood porch pirates are gearing up to pilfer the holiday treasures being delivered to your doorstep.
We've all seen the familiar footage from a home security camera: a fish-eye view of a home's front porch sporting a stack of smiling Amazon Prime boxes. An unexpected car pulls up. A stranger approaches the cardboard booty. He or she looks to the left, looks to the right, scoops up the bounty and runs back to the car, ruining the holidays for everyone.
The holiday season can be stressful enough with arranging travel or hosting overnight guests; baking; cleaning; shopping and wrapping gifts. You don't need the extra burden of some crooks stealing your joy and peace of mind.
Here are some ways you can conquer the porch pirates and lay claim to the best holiday ever.
Have your packages delivered elsewhere
If you have the luxury of being able to have your packages delivered to your office, this is one of the best options. As a bonus, you can easily hide the gifts from your family.
If this isn't an option, have your orders shipped to a neighbor or family member who is home during the day.
FedEx packages can be picked up at one of their offices or a local participating Walgreens location.
UPS packages can be received at a local UPS Store, CVS or Michael's stores or you can arrange to have them delivered on a day when you are home.
Let the delivery person in
Most respondents to a recent PCMag survey of 1,500 people said they are willing to spend an average of $110.86 on home protection gadgets. A total of 28 percent said they have a security camera, 25 percent have a video doorbell,and 17 percent have a smart lock.
Smart locks allow you to unlock your door from your smartphone or computer. Video allows you to see who is at your door. You can instruct delivery people on where to drop the packages and then lock up after they leave.
Smart locks range in price from $100-$300, which is worth it if your family is safe and happy.
Have packages delivered to your car
Key by Amazon allows Amazon Prime members to have their packages left in their home, garage or even their cars.
Download the app to have your items shipped to your car within hours. Check the app or website to see if your product, vehicle and address of the vehicle are eligible for delivery. Pick a delivery time and you're set. You will receive notification of when your package is out for delivery and when the driver is en route.
According to the Amazon website, "Key In-Car Delivery is available with select makes and models. It is available with model year 2015 and newer Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC and Volvo vehicles and requires an active connected car service plan, such as OnStar and On Call."
Key In-Car Delivery is available on tens of millions of Amazon items and works with Same-Day, One-Day, Two-Day and Standard Shipping. They cannot deliver heavy or bulky items weighing more than 50 pounds.
Track your packages
If high-tech gadgets aren't your thing, simply use your low-tech skills to track your packages. UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, Amazon and FedEx all offer tracking online.
Sign up for USPS Informed Delivery to automatically get a daily email containing scans of the mail being delivered and tracking numbers of expected packages.
Tracking information for Amazon packages can be found in your order details.
Your special deliveries are at risk, and the porch pirates are sure to be marking their spots of opportunity this holiday season. Use these tips from One Nevada Credit Union, and ensure your gifts are received by those you intend.
Your turn: How do you do battle with the scourge of porch piracy? Let us know in the comments.