SEATTLE -- The more we shop online, the more opportunities we give thieves to steal our purchases. We see it every year in surveillance home videos starring pesky thieves walking up to porches and taking the packages delivered to doorsteps.
It happened to Hemalakshmi Kannan last year after Thanksgiving. Her package was stolen from her while she was at home alone with her baby. She and her husband had ordered gifts from Amazon and timed it so that they would arrive when their family visiting from India arrived. Since it's customary to give gifts in India, the lack of one presented disappointment, which later turned to fear."To think that someone walked right to your front door, picked up your stuff and just left when you're inside the house -- it's terrifying actually," said Kannan. "It's scary."
The incident changed the way Kannan waits for her packages. Now she tracks it all the way up to the front door. She never thought it was necessary since she lives on a dead end road in a residential neighborhood."It could happen anywhere," she said.
PEMCO Insurance recently found that nearly half of all holiday purchases are online. NBC News reported nearly 23 Americans have had their packages stolen last year. And this year, Cyber Monday sales are expected to reach all-time highs at $3.3 billion. Do the math and you can see this leaves more opportunities for thieves to take what is yours.
Kannan says Amazon was great and worked with her on a refund. However, that can't possibly be the ending for every case.
"It's worth it to be proactive and take some precautions and preventative measures before this happens," said Derek Wing, spokesperson for PEMCO Insurance. "You don't want any Grinch ruining your holiday season."
Here are some reminders to make sure your gift gets to you:
• Stay at home during the delivery
• Get packages delivered to work
• Trust your neighbors to accept your packages
• Use tracking
• Request signature upon delivery
• Use safe sites like PO boxes or an Amazon locker (limited to select cities)