7 On Your Side: Protect packages from porch pirates

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Nina Pineda has tips to prevent the theft of holiday packages this Christmas season

Tis the season for...stealing. More than 26 million Americans report getting their holiday packages stolen from their doorstep by porch pirates.

7 On Your Side has a step-by-step guide to fight this fraud.

We've all seen the brazen broad daylight porch pirating videos. According to a study by insuranceQuotes.com, 8 percent of Americans have had packages ripped off from porches and doorsteps.

"With the holiday season, there are more deliveries, more online shopping, more packages being left outside," said Captain Ed Sullivan of the Cliffside Police Department.

The captain says criminals follow delivery trucks, then wait to pounce and porch pirate people's treasure. His first tip: Schedule delivery when you are home. Unattended packages are easy pickings.

"If you can't be at home, schedule delivery at work or sign up for email notification where they'll send you an email," Sullivan said. "You'll know when it's delivered and arrived. Hopefully, a neighbor or friend can come get so it's not left at your doorstep."

Sullivan also suggests keeping your packages out of plain sight.

"Ask the driver. A lot of the drivers do the same routes. Ask to deliver to a safer area in your house, possibly back door or side door," Sullivan said.

Consider investing in a video security system, doorbell monitoring and smart-home systems. The basic Ring doorbell system starts around $199 for hardware and video recording, but if you want adds-on and continuous recording plans, that's hundreds more.

But security cameras have provided countless clips of suspects caught in the act.

"It's a big tool for us to use," Sullivan said. "We will have pictures and video of the person who took it so they can look for them in for the future."

More big takeaways: Request your packages get delivered and held at a secure location. You can pick it up at the store or the post office or delivery facility.

Perhaps the most important takeaway: Ask, in writing, for signature upon delivery. So you must sign for packages -- before they're delievered.

That's important because if it's stolen, and not signed for, you'll have recourse with the shipper or the store to ask for a refund or re-ship. Happy online shopping!

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