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Smart Home

BoxLock keeps your packages safe from front-porch thieves

You put the BoxLock on a container where delivery people stow your stuff. Only you and the deliverer can open the padlock.

A delivery driver scans your package, and the BoxLock searches the internet to see if the package is indeed out for delivery and supposed to come to you.

Chris Monroe/CNET

A new internet-connected lock wants to keep your packages safe from potential thieves.

The $129 BoxLock, which was on display this weekend at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago, is a padlock with a technological edge. You put the BoxLock on a container big enough to hold delivery boxes and connect the lock to the internet via Wi-Fi. Once you've set up the lock and the app (available for iOS and Android), a delivery person is supposed to use the lock's built-in scanner to read your package label. 

The BoxLock uses its internet connection to verify the package is out for delivery with one of the major shipping companies and that you are the intended recipient. If your package meets those requirements, the BoxLock will open, the delivery person puts your order in the container and re-locks the BoxLock. If not, the BoxLock won't budge. Either way, you'll receive a notification on your device.

BoxLock sounds like a good way to thwart the opportunistic package snatcher. The padlock isn't as intrusive as the Amazon Key, a system that uses a security camera, smart door lock and app to let delivery people into your home to drop off your packages while you're away. Plus, the BoxLock's $129 price makes it amongst the cheaper ways to secure your deliveries (the Amazon Key costs $250 to $320).

But how effective can the BoxLock be against someone who's willing to take the whole container of deliveries and attempt to open it later? The company says you should bolt your container to your house or porch from inside so thieves can't access the bolts. 

"Most package thefts are a crime of opportunity, if the thief can't see the package they won't know it's there, as far as they are concerned your storage container is probably empty most of the time," BoxLock said on its website.

BoxLock will also need buy-in from major delivery companies and the folks who bring your packages to your door. The company will provide you with a sign that informs delivery people you're using a BoxLock and a tag to put on your container to show the driver how to use it.

"Thus far in our pilot we've seen first-hand how critical driver awareness is," a company spokesperson said. "Combining the yard signs and hang tag instructions have proven to effectively inform drivers about BoxLock and makes sure they can quickly understand how to use it."

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