Keep your packages from being stolen
Monitor Your Front Porch With a Security Cam or Video Doorbell
With a camera keeping watch, you can monitor your property from anywhere and record any activity. In our survey, 21 percent of Americans who had a package stolen in the previous year installed a video doorbell in response to the theft. Some cameras, such as the Logitech Circle View Doorbell and Arlo Essential security camera, can even detect the presence of packages. (Note that this feature can require a monthly fee depending on the brand and model.)
If the cameras are visible, that alone might deter potential thieves. Consumer Reports has tested more than 100 wireless security cameras and video doorbells. Below, you’ll find two of our top picks. For more options, see our complete home security camera ratings and our review of the best floodlight security cameras.
Some services let you indicate where to leave your package if you’re not home. Using UPS’ My Choice tool, FedEx’s Delivery Manager, and USPS Informed Delivery, you can instruct drivers to leave a package at a specific location, such as a back door or with a building superintendent.
FedEx and UPS also allow you to have deliveries diverted to another address (such as a neighbor’s), placed on hold if you’re on vacation, or rescheduled for a different day. Both also have local merchant partners, such as FedEx and UPS stores, pharmacies, and grocery stores, that have agreed to accept deliveries for customers.
Another option is to have items sent to a retailer’s walk-in store for pickup, which may help you save on shipping fees.
Many but not all of these services are free. UPS, for example, charges fees for online requests to change deliveries to a different day or location. You can either pay a one-time fee per delivery or sign up for a yearly subscription.
Use a Package Delivery Box or an Amazon Pickup Location
Instead of having deliveries left unsecured at your front door, you can have them delivered into a package delivery box on your property. We evaluated three boxes made by Danby, Keter, and Yale and found them to be a decent solution, provided you can get your delivery people to use them. They range in price from $200 to $400 and some offer smart features, such as smartphone notifications when you receive a delivery, the ability to lock and unlock them from your smartphone, and built-in security cameras.
Another approach: Purchases made on Amazon can be delivered to an Amazon Locker or Counter pickup location. These are available in over 900 cities and towns, including at many Whole Foods Market supermarkets. Amazon Lockers are self-serve lockers where you can pick up orders, while Amazon Counters are staffed pickup counters inside retail stores and small businesses that have partnered with Amazon. Select participating Lockers and Counters can also accept returns.
When you check out on Amazon, pick a Locker or Counter location as the delivery address. Once your package is delivered, you’ll have three days to pick it up from a locker and seven days to pick it up from a counter. There’s no charge for this service.
Keep Tabs on Your Packages by Signing Up for Alerts
FedEx Delivery Manager, UPS My Choice, and USPS Informed Delivery all offer text, email, and/or mobile app alerts so that you know when a delivery will be made and can adjust your own schedule accordingly.
USPS Informed Delivery takes these alerts a step further and lets you digitally preview images of your mail and its location without entering tracking numbers. That way you can be sure to be at home if something important is arriving.