Doing your holiday shopping online sure does simplify things. You can avoid crowded stores, skip the long lines, and save yourself the hassle of ever having to leave your home — an added bonus during COVID-19. The problem, however, is that clicking "add to cart" doesn't always guarantee your holiday purchases end up safely waiting for you on your doorstep.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the surge of online purchases during the pandemic has led to record reports of unreceived goods. And if you're getting your holiday gifts delivered, you definitely don't want them to end up in the wrong hands. Fortunately, we have some smart, preventive tips to help deter porch pirates from stealing your holiday joy.


Don't Let Deliveries Linger On Your Doorstep

When you receive a package, bring it inside when you can. Leaving deliveries unattended for long periods — particularly overnight — increases their likelihood of getting stolen.

If you're not able to bring mail and packages inside, consider asking a friend or trusted neighbor to collect them for you.


Place A Hold On Packages And Mail If You're Away

If you're not going to be home to bring deliveries inside, you can fill out a request online for the U.S. Postal Service to hold your mail. You can also request a vacation hold from FedEx and UPS.


Stay Connected With Your Neighbors

Neighbors, a free app that provides real-time local crime and safety alerts, makes it quick and easy to send and receive updates about package thefts and other community safety alerts to help keep neighborhoods connected and informed.

Get A Video Doorbell

Smart devices, like the Ring Video Doorbell, let you answer your door and help protect your packages no matter where you are.

Plus, if you have a Ring Video Doorbell, you'll receive real-time notifications about activity at your door — even if you're away. You can then see and speak to your visitors and, if someone is attempting to take your package, you can tell them to put it down and leave.


Photo Credit: Ring.com

If you're not able to bring your packages in until after dark, having smart lights on a timer can be effective to make it look like someone is home. With Ring Smart Lighting, you can link your lights to select Ring Video Doorbells and Cameras so they shine when motion is detected.


Photo Credit: Ring.com

Ring Solar-Powered Path lights are great for the walkway leading up to your front door. They each shine up to 80 lumens of white light when motion is detected. You can turn them on or off, adjust the brightness, and customize the motion sensitivity from anywhere using the Ring App. With Ring Path lights, you can also enjoy features such as Dusk to Dawn to keep your lights dimly lit all night while continuing to illuminate at full brightness when motion is detected.