Porch Pirates: The New Christmas Terror

December 11, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Familiar with the term “porch pirate”? Well, it’s a term that’s increasingly in vogue these days—particularly in these pre-holiday shopping days where people are ordering more goods online and on mobile devices. The shippers sending directly to users’ homes need a place to park said goods, and the porch is usually a target. Leaving stuff sit outside sometimes for several hours can be a problem, and an increasingly profitable opportunity for porch piracy.

The latest word from Ring, a security firm, says about one in five online shoppers has been hit by porch pirates during the holiday shopping season. While online shopping is never exactly slow—customers are receiving an average of one package per week during normal shopping periods—during the holidays this ratchets up substantially to an average of nine packages for the season.

If one considers the Christmas shopping season to be a one-month affair, that means a little better than double normal. That’s before the recently-spotted escalations in mobile shopping in general kick in. In fact, it’s said that rural dwellers are most likely to be victims of porch piracy because there are fewer potential witnesses. With an ongoing opioid crisis leading fairly large numbers of people to seek quick shots of cash no matter how small, that’s fueling an already impressive fire.

So what can you do in response? Well, there are some options: if you’re on good terms with your Fedex, UPS or USPS driver—remembering them at Christmas can be helpful here—you can make arrangements accordingly. Set up a space on the back porch or otherwise out of the way that’s simple enough for you and the driver to access. Even something as simple as behind an air conditioning unit can do. The back door is increasingly common, according to some anecdotal reports. Consider setting up a post office box for online shopping, or having items shipped to a retired friend or family member who will be home to receive such goods.

With online shopping and mobile payments exploding in terms of use, finding a way to reliably take delivery of those packages becomes vital as well. After all, what good is it to shop online if you don’t receive what you order?