PROVO, Utah — Package theft is an infuriating trend that continues to get worse as more and more Americans opt to shop online. With that in mind, a new poll finds three in 10 Americans have been the victim of a no-good porch pirate. Moreover, nearly half of all porch pirate victims never receive a refund for their stolen merchandise.
The survey by smart home company Vivint polled over 1,000 people about their previous experiences with package thievery and online shopping. It turns out 29 percent have had a package stolen, with more Americans living in urban areas and apartment buildings never receiving their items. Although more people are turning to online orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers find the number of porch pirate incidents has remained the same throughout the last year.
More opportunities for porch piracy
Overall, the study finds e-commerce worldwide has been increasing steadily for years and projections show online sales will hit $6.4 billion by 2024. Unfortunately, researchers say as more people opt to have their purchases delivered, porch pirate incidents will likely go up over the next few years.
At the moment, the average person has had three packages swiped from their residence before receiving it during their lifetime. Just in the U.S., 1.7 million packages are stolen or lost in the mail every day. These incidents aren’t cheap either. In fact, the average cost of the merchandise in a given package going to someone’s home is $106.
Porch pirates are walking around well-dressed
As for what these crooks are stealing from American consumers, previous polls find shoppers lose everything from groceries, to Christmas presents for their loved ones, to prescription medications. However, the new study finds clothing is the top item porch pirates typically make off with. Stolen clothing bought online accounts for a third of all missing property that doesn’t reach shoppers in apartments and single-family homes. One in five consumers report that their stolen items also included books, toys, games, health, and personal care products.
When it comes to when you should be on the alert for porch pirates, the poll finds Mondays and Tuesdays in the afternoon is prime-time for stolen deliveries. While researchers did not find a major difference between each day of the week, the beginning of the week ranks as having more piracy incidents.
Speaking of “prime,” Amazon Prime deliveries are the most common shipments that go missing. Despite the online retail giant having an “A-Z Guarantee Program” to deal with problems with third-party sellers, just 54 percent of porch pirate victims get a full refund after reporting their goods missing.
How can you keep your deliveries safe?
One in three people feel subscribing for delivery alerts is the best way they can protect their shipments from porch pirates. Nearly a quarter opt to leave shippers specific delivery instructions so their goods aren’t left in a vulnerable spot outside their homes.
Over 20 percent of the poll have installed an outdoor security camera or video doorbell to make crooks think twice before approaching their home. However, whether they live in rural or urban areas, researchers find some respondents prefer to send their personal orders to a work address.
“Aside from redirecting incoming orders to your workplace, another good idea could be to ask your neighbor or local relative to accept delivery of your package for you,” the Vivint team writes in a statement.