Have You Had an Amazon Package Stolen?

About 1 in 12 Americans have had a holiday package taken from their home. Are you among the victims?
Published
Amazon package at door

We're well into the holiday season, and many of us are hoping our online orders arrive in time for Christmas next week. In fact, the U.S. Postal Service predicts December 17-23 will be its busiest week for mailing, shipping, and delivery. But with the uptick in deliveries comes an increased risk of theft by "porch pirates" — people who steal packages right off of doorsteps.

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Check out our tips on how to prevent package theft, and learn what one city and company are doing to catch these Grinches.

Amazon and Jersey City Are Fighting Back

Whether they're about dancing thieves or children directed to steal, package-theft stories hit the news in a big way this time of year. It's estimated that 8% of Americans have had a holiday package stolen from their residence, according to a survey commissioned by insuranceQuotes.com.

Jersey City police have installed doorbell cameras and utilized dummy packages to capture holiday thieves.

Recently, Amazon teamed up with police in Jersey City, NJ, to try and catch these "stoop surfers" in the act. While Amazon hasn't provided figures for the number of packages reported stolen or missing, according to The Associated Press, the online retailer did give the Jersey City program free equipment.

Police in the city have been installing doorbell cameras and utilizing dummy packages in a sting operation to capture holiday thieves. It's been a success so far: one box was apparently on the street for just three minutes before being stolen (and they did catch the suspect).

Tips for Preventing Package Theft

Even if you receive a refund for a stolen package, that can be a lot of hassle to go through — and you're still missing your item. These tips can help you prevent boxes from disappearing from your doorstep.

  • Get the package delivered to an alternative location. Try to have it sent to your workplace, or even a trusted friend's residence.

  • Ask for a signature requirement. If the item is expensive, a signature might already be needed, but it can't hurt to double check for added peace of mind.

  • Invest in an extra layer of protection. Install a doorbell camera to watch your items when you aren't there. You can also use a special lockbox for your package drop-offs.

Readers, have boxes ever been stolen from your home? Take our poll below, then let us know your best tips for preventing package theft.


Senior Staff Writer

Julie joined DealNews in 2015. Her work has been featured on MSN, Business Insider, Lifehacker, The Motley Fool, GoBankingRates, and Moneyish. In her spare time, she enjoys baking sweets, reading thrillers, and listening to an ever-growing list of podcasts.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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21 comments
ccrider24
FedEx failed to deliver 2 packages as scheduled. Still waiting for another 2 packages from Walmart; They claim location is undeliverable, USPS and UPS have no issue delivering and I'm sure FedEx has before. Lady from FedEx called, can I pick it up - "Mam, I paid for delivery" she says; "I have a long driveway with no turnaround". That's odd, "I live on a Dead-End ROAD; why isn't the truck still parked out there in a state of confusion; Seemed to go over her head. My porch is
Twig
Any package sent USPS or SurePost is questionable at best for us no matter what store we use.
USPS has policies that prevent them from delivering our mail: 1) will not open a gate, 2) will not deliver if house is 1/2 mile or more from the road, 3) must have a turn around on the property.
If the delivery does not fit our oversize mailbox they randomly leave it outside the gate where it is susceptible to theft.
Sometimes they will leave a "delivery attempted" tag telling me "we tried, come get it" but randomly the tracking number on the tag never gets entered in their system. It is a 16 mile round trip and 1 hour of my time to go to the post office, wait in line and retrieve my packages.
Amazon Prime shipping? Joke.
I notice more and more online stores don't list UPS SurePost or FedEx SurePost as the default shipping option until the purchase is on its way. The USPS avoids documentation of this situation by not including a reason in its return form that reflects this situation.
Luckyguy711
I'm retired, ring the damn doorbell! Most or the time all deliveries are left and I get a text message. By ALL I mean, the USPS, UPS Amazon and FedEx. They don't want to ring the doorbell because they might get asked a question or bothered by random conversation. All I want is my package nothing else. When I say a text, it could be right after the delivery or hours later. The USPS is the worst, sometimes it's the next day. Come on you guys, Ring the Doorbell.
HandsomePete42
All the shipping services are busy. It's called situational awareness/common sense. Take a look around and choose the best spot. This shouldn't take more than 5 seconds. The real issue is that they don't pay these people enough to care. For a lot of them, it's a side job, or a temporary job. All I ask is to give your employees a little common sense training. But they can't be bothered to do so, and Amazon doesn't seem to care that the service they use is wildly incompetent, thus, Amazon is where the buck stops. Imagine going to McDonalds and getting an under cooked burger and when you go to complain they just say "sorry we're really busy and understaffed, there's nothing we can do about it." That's why I had to take matters in to my own hands and have most of my packages sent to either my P.O. Box or work. And yes, I know that not everyone can afford a P.O. Box or has a work that will let them do that. Get creative. Who knows, your solution could be a million dollar idea.
haodeal
Amazon delivery is OK most of the time. Their service through USPS is the worst. My items would be marked delivered into mailbox two days before they were actually delivered. Sometimes they were delivered to a different household, but mostly we receive their items. USPS doesn't bother to check address. They only read numbers. Even though no big items have been stolen, Amazon customer service is great, willing to work with customers.
axgupta1
To those who are complaining about Amazon Delivery Service, please understand that ADS is operated by third party contractors who have to make 40-45 deliveries in 3-4 hours. This does not take into account traffic or road conditions or other conditions like delivering to apartments which can impact their schedule. UPS/FedEx/USPS are not under any such constraint. I have had several Amazon Prime deliveries delayed by several days because USPS in our area did not have enough staff to cope with the number of packages that needed to be delivered. I also have Ring doorbell, so it records when deliveries are made. If anyone decided to steal a package, they will be on camera.
HandsomePete42
Amazon is the worst. There's a spot on our porch that's perfect for hiding packages, you have to walk on to the porch to see it. USPS, FedEx, and UPS are decent in our area and have been utilizing that spot for years and nothing has been stolen. But Amazons delivery service just chucks the package at our door snaps a picture and runs away. Several of those have gone missing. I've made many complaints to Amazon and they can't be bothered to direct their employees to use common sense like all of the other services in our area. Now we send everything to either our P.O. Box, we had to get one like 15 years ago because of mail theft, or work. I know people that have doorbell cameras and have gotten clear pictures of the faces of the thieves and the police were beyond unhelpful. I know a guy that went as far as to rig up a hunting camera on a tree and got plate numbers, but the police couldn't be bothered to do anything.
tahu300
I've yet to have a package stolen even with nearly 100 deliveries. My roommate even sent a package of his to the wrong address (his old address) and Amazon sent him another one (for a nearly $500 item mind you!).

I did have a package that was supposed to be delivered 2 blocks down delivered to me. My roommate and I then delivered it and explained the situation and didn't even get a thank you... how rude!
RudeVader
I've noticed since Amazon has gone with that new "last mile delivery" option to pass the packages to some unknown company owner that delivers packages using rented uhaul or even subcompact cars full of amazon packages, that packages are simply left on the stairs and they walk away. All they do it toss them onto the stairs and take a picture with their phone to show they "delivered" the package, ringing the doorbell seems to take to much of their time. Most of the last mile people look like typical joes you see walking down the street with not identification.

At least USPS still rings the doorbell.
trag
I have not had any packages stolen, but I am concerned that many Amazon packages are marked as "Your package was delivered. It was handed directly to a resident. " in the "Order Details" section. When, no, it wasn't. I'm the only resident. Unless they handed it to my cat, it was not handed directly to anyone. It was left on the door step.

I looked for a way to let Amazon know they're being snowed by their delivery service, but their "Customer Service" maze of twisty pull down menus, all of them alike, is impenetrable.
arby128
It's well known that Amazon directs carriers to leave packages when no one is there to accept them. It seems to me that package theft increased markedly after that policy became known, not only Amazon packages but others as well. Maybe it's time for Amazon to rethink that policy
HisSon
Not too long ago, we had a package which was dropped off to a home with the same house number and town but a different road. Fortunately, the receivers after opening and seeing that the items were not ordered by them, found our information in the package including phone number and called us. They even delivered it to us and we discovered that they knew a relative and some of her friends. We had a wonderful talk in getting to know them so thankfully, it turned out well.
Rich_P
I think half of these package theft could be eliminated if the delivery people would just ring the doorbell when they drop items off. I work from home and more often than not I find out about a delivery via an alert before I know it was delivered.
from50613
jam-ez1 - did you know that you can register with both UPS and FedEx and place special instructions on where to have the packages delivered at your house? I have done this with both, instructing them to leave the package in a breezeway porch I have. They both make their services look like they cost, but for delivery it is free.

As for the wrong house, yes, mine are often delivered one block over to the same house number. We both have traded packages back. I suppose the good news is that we have met some very nice people because of hurried delivery drivers.
snaimpally
For me, a bigger issue than stolen packages is mis-delivered packages. We frequently get our package and a package meant for one of our neighbors sitting on our doorstep. Our packages also get delivered to neighboring houses. One time, UPS left 5 packages meant for me on one of my neighbor's doorstep. While our house number is stenciled on our curb and we have numbers attached over our garage, after that incident, I went out and bought some 4" numbers from a hardware stored and installed them on a pillar that is part of the front porch.
jam-ez1
Delivery people could also do a better job by not leaving packages in plain view. At my house packages are always left next to the front door, plainly visible from the street, even though I have shrubbery that blocks the view of the rest of the porch on either side of the door.
chrisbrendel
Just make a little Glitter Bomb - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoxhDk-hwuo
Artsleisure
Amazon Prime has become a con-game of failure to deliver and packages that even the Post Office can't find using its own tracking software. Since the packages don't get delivered, there is nothing available for local thieves to steal from my lobby, where the Post Office usually abandons packages it does deliver. They won't even ring my apartment's bell located in the street.
weebee
if they would ring the door bell. they drop it off and some people are home ring the bell to give a head up.
LonnieMcClure
I thought I had a holiday package stolen back in 2016, but after getting additional security cameras (I already had one that recorded on motion only), I discovered it was far more likely that the carrier simply delivered it to the wrong address. At least twice since, they've shown a package as delivered, but the recordings from the cameras confirmed they were not even at my home around the supposed time of delivery.
ski522
Just warms your heart realizing how pathetic some members of the human race are! Just read the other day how hackers stole money from an orphanage that was going to be used for Xmas presents, just how low of a scum bag can you be?!?!?