How to Prevent Porch Pirates From Ruining Amazon Prime Day
Don't let your big savings get stolen.
Peter is a writer and editor for the CNET How-To team. He has been covering technology, software, finance, sports and video games since working for @Home Network and Excite in the 1990s. Peter managed reviews and listings for Download.com during the 2000s, and is passionate about software and no-nonsense advice for creators, consumers and investors.
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Amazon Prime Day, scheduled for July 11 and 12, gives Prime members tons of opportunities to score big savings on the products they need or want. But all those savings get washed away if criminals steal your delivered packages.
"Porch pirates" is another name for the thieves who steal delivered packages from in front of people's homes (whether or not there's a porch). Incidents of package theft skyrocketed in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and remain fairly high -- about 49 million people experienced package theft in 2022, according to Security.org.
Though it's a major bummer to have your favorite Prime Day deal stolen, you can reduce the risk of package theft dramatically by taking a few actions. Learn how to stop porch pirates from ganking your loot, to make sure you receive everything you order on Prime Day.
Instead of using "this one weird trick" to stop package theft, your best approach is to have multiple layers of protection. Just as you'd vaccinate, wear a mask and ventilate air to protect against COVID-19, multiple steps to prevent porch pirates can reduce your risk considerably.
First, track all your packages
Knowing the exact location of your package in its journey to your home will reduce the amount of time it sits in front of your house, giving porch pirates less opportunity to steal it. All the major delivery services and the US Postal Service allow package tracking.
Reducing the time between delivery of your package and your retrieval of it is an easy, no-cost way to discourage porch piracy, especially if you're usually home. If you aren't going to be home when a package arrives, you have a couple of other free ways to prevent theft.
Get help from neighbors
Making friends with your neighbors is a great way to build community, but it also can bestow personal benefits, including potential prevention of package theft. If you aren't going to be home when a package is expected to be delivered, contact a neighbor friend and let them grab it for you.
If you have a neighbor who's always home and you aren't, you could even have your packages delivered to their address instead and pick them up when you get home.
Have your packages delivered to your work address
Another option for protecting your packages from getting stolen is to have them delivered to your office or work address, especially if you never work from home. Many offices have full-time receptionists or shipping departments that will gladly hold personal packages for you.
Talk to your boss or HR department before making the switch, however. Some companies have explicit policies about not accepting personal deliveries.
Consider installing a video doorbell camera
Video doorbells can be a deterrent to package theft, and not only because the video might scare away criminals. Doorbell cameras from companies like Ring, Wyze and Blink will not only record activity but also alert you to any motion on your porch and let you communicate with anyone who's out there, whether you're home or not.
If your video doorbell lets you know that someone is delivering a package, you can chat with them to tell them where to stash your package so it won't get stolen.
Amazon Key allows packages to be delivered inside your garage
If you're an Amazon Prime member with a smart garage door, you can get your packages delivered inside your garage for free using Amazon Key In-Garage Delivery. Simply link your garage door to Amazon Key using the app for your smart garage, and when you make a purchase, select Free Key Delivery.
When the Amazon driver arrives at your house, they'll scan your package to open your garage door -- you don't need to do anything. If you're uncomfortable with a stranger accessing your garage, you can also add a video camera to watch the delivery. Real-time alerts will tell you exactly where your package is at all times.
Check to see if there's an Amazon Locker nearby
If you really want to shut down porch pirates completely for Amazon packages, use a secure Amazon Locker if there's one close enough to your home. Amazon Locker lets you send packages to a lockbox in an external location. You can pick up packages whenever you like, within three days after the arrival of a package.
Amazon Locker is free for all Prime members. Other Amazon members will need to pay standard shipping rates. Some Amazon Lockers are open 24 hours, but every Amazon Locker has unique hours. Check the Amazon site to see exactly when they're open.
To help you find an Amazon Locker near you, Amazon offers a search tool that shows available locations. A third-party tool called LockerMap shows a graphic display of all the Amazon Lockers in the US, but be aware that it isn't an official app and confirm locker info on the Amazon site.
Getting ripped off by porch pirates can be a frustrating experience, but with a little preparation and care, you can stop those thieves from stealing your wonderful new stuff.