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The United States Postal Service estimates it will deliver around 900 million packages this holiday season. Package thefts rise during the holiday season, and some thieves will even follow delivery trucks to scoop up packages as soon as they are delivered.  So far this year in Cambridge, the amount of reported package thefts from doorsteps and apartment lobbies has increased 47% according to the Cambridge Police Department.

To make sure your package is properly received this holiday season, consumers should consider:

  • Requiring a signature upon delivery;
  • Requesting tracking and delivery confirmation;
  • Insuring packages;
  • Specifying delivery instructions, such as “leave at back door” or delivery times during which you will be home;
  • Arranging to pick up packages at the post office or delivery service location;
  • Asking a friend or neighbor to accept or pick up packages;
  • Shipping packages to a workplace if allowed.
  • Seeing if the sender or shipper offers a secure locker. These lockers are self-service kiosks where packages can be picked up. Consumers simply request the package be delivered to a locker instead of a home.
  • Purchasing security cameras for real-time monitoring of their door or home.
  • If you are sending a package, let the recipient know that it is coming and when to expect it to arrive (no peeking!).  Be sure to follow up with them to make sure it was received.

If you suspect that a package was lost or stolen, you should:

  • First check around your house to see if the package was placed out of sight, such as in the hedges, by the garage or on the porch;
  • Ask your neighbors if they witnessed the delivery or if the shipper accidentally delivered the package to them;
  • Contact the shipper to be sure the items were sent properly. If you determine that the shipper was not at fault, file a complaint with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service;
  • File a police report with your local police department.

This post is part of our “Holiday Shopping” series, bringing you timely information as you shop this holiday season.  For more information on your shopping rights, click here.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s vehicular and customized wheelchair Lemon Laws and Arbitration Programs, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry.

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