Porch pirates swipe packages from a third of holiday shoppers, survey says

Porch pirates are preparing for what might be their busiest time of the year.

Nearly all shoppers expect at least one package to be delivered this holiday season, and if history repeats, almost 1 in 3 will have a parcel swiped between Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to a new report from C+R Research.

The survey “asked 2,000 consumers who have shopped online at least once within the last 12 months about their experiences with package theft as well as what preventative measures they’ve taken to avoid getting a package stolen in the future.”

Making matters worse, 1 in 4 shoppers didn’t get a refund last year after a package theft and had to shell out an additional $109 on average to replace the item or items, the report found.

Baltimore resident Rosemarie Dumhart, 79, uses a decoy package, marked with an X, to discourage so-called "porch pirates." (Photo: SEBASTIEN DUVAL/AFP via Getty Images)

The findings come as Americans gear up for Christmas shopping, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner.

“We expect to see a rise of package theft to coincide with those two popular shopping days,” said Matt Zajechowski, a content strategist at marketing firm Digital Third Coast who helped write the report.

“People who would be looking to steal packages know that within a week’s period, there's going to be the most amount of packages delivered probably all year,” he said.

Package theft fear

Package theft is a common concern among shoppers. Half of those surveyed worry it will happen to them, while 2 in 5 avoid purchasing expensive items online, so they can’t be pilfered during delivery.

A decoy package, marked with an X, is supposed to discourage"porch pirates." (Photo: SEBASTIEN DUVAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Almost half of respondents said they had packages swiped from their doorstep multiple times. These repeat victims have spent $191 on average to protect their incoming parcels by installing a camera or motion lights or getting a dog.

Preventing theft

Shoppers are taking other precautions this holiday season. Half plan to stay home waiting for their packages, the survey found, while a quarter intend to require a signature before their parcels can be delivered.

If you can’t be at home, you could arrange pick-up in-store or at a delivery center. That’s what some are planning to do. And more than 1 in 7 shoppers say they’ll ask the delivery driver to hide their packages.

Precaution that consumers are taking ahead of the holiday season deliveries (Source: C+R Research)

Other options include mailing your purchases to a different location such as your office or your parents’ or friends’ house, if you know they will be home to accept them.

Or, you could go the old-fashioned route by purchasing your gifts in-store and bringing them home yourself. That’s what one-third of shoppers plan to do this holiday season.

Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.

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