Package Thieves Seize Opportunity During Pandemic

NBC 7 Responds breaks down new research showing an increase in porch piracy

NBCUniversal, Inc.

When the holidays arrive, it's common to hear of people stealing packages from your front door. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, more people are ordering products online and a new survey says package thieves are taking advantage of it.

"This definitely speaks to a larger problem that exists for consumers throughout the year," said Andrew Hurst of Value Penguin, which surveyed people across the nation. "It's not exactly new with quarantine, but obviously there are more opportunities for thieves."

The Value Penguin and LendingTree survey found 40% of package thefts happen at apartments. It also found 30% of people are not refunded for their stolen packages, costing them a lot of money.

"It's about $106 per victim, but that increases for older age groups," Hurst said.

The survey found that more packages are stolen from Generation Z than from other age groups, but that people over 75 lost the most when their package was stolen, usually more than $200.

The survey also found that even though more people are staying home, there has not been a decrease in the number of people reporting package thefts. Hurst says it's likely that thieves are stealing a package while someone is on the other side of the door.

Forty-four percent of people surveyed had a package stolen from them in their lifetime, but 20% said they had had a package stolen since March.

Hurst recommends setting up tracking notifications so you know when your package is arriving, using a doorbell camera or requiring that you sign for the package, or even asking a trusted neighbor to keep an eye out if you are out of town.

"It's a problem that's definitely not new and it's not going to go away," Hurst said.

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