What the Tech: Protect Your Deliveries

CHARLOTTE N.C.- Even if you haven’t had a package stolen, the odds are good that someone in your small circle of friends has had a delivery snatched from their doorstep. Some 49 million Americans say they’ve had at least one delivery stolen in the last year. It’s a crime of opportunity that can happen fast. Police report the bad guys are known to follow delivery trucks through neighborhoods and when they see a driver dropping something off at a residence, they’ll run to the porch, steal the item, and make off as fast as they drove there. But it’s a crime you can help prevent.

It starts when you place your order. If you’re ordering something for Christmas, there isn’t a rush. Amazon encourages shoppers to have packages delivered when they’re home and will offer special deals if you bundle deliveries.

When I checked with an order of three small items, Amazon gave me the option for them to be delivered later in the week and on the weekend. If I choose this, Amazon gives me $2.25 in digital credit that I can use to purchase digital music, movies, Kindle books, and Prime movie rentals. Not a bad deal. Plus, it cuts down on the number of boxes.

You can have packages delivered to your work address to keep purchases from sitting on your doorstep if allowed. Ask a neighbor if they’ll accept the delivery and bring it inside.

Amazon has Amazon Lockers scattered in businesses across the country. You can choose to have your package delivered to one nearby. Enter your zip code at this website to see all available Amazon Lockers in your area. You’ll get a code on your phone when the item is delivered. Upon arriving at the Amazon Locker, you scan it at the kiosk to retrieve the item.

Amazon’s Key in-home delivery is available at many addresses. You’ll need a smart garage door opener and a security camera. When the delivery driver arrives, they’ll open the garage, place the item inside and then close the door behind them. You can watch the delivery live or view it later.

You can also track the item with your phone. You’ll often be notified when the delivery truck is a few minutes away so you can call a neighbor to pick it up.

If you catch a thief on a security camera, share it on social media and with the police. If you have something stolen, contact Amazon. Its A-Z guarantee covers thefts of many items. If the order is shipped and sold by a third-party seller, contact the seller through Amazon, though you may have a difficult time getting a response or a refund.