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Here's what to do if you become a victim of a porch pirate

Posted: 6:39 AM, Dec 12, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-14 12:56:48Z

In the next few days, many people will be receiving in the mail gifts recently purchased online.

To prevent theft, members of the U.S. Postal Inspector Services are on patrol in unmarked vehicles across South Florida.

"However, we can't be everywhere. The community is our eyes and ears," said Blanca Alvarez of Team Leader of Mail Theft and Violent Crimes. "If they see anything suspicious -- like someone following a mail carrier -- contact the local police first then contact the local postal inspectors."

To prevent becoming a victim, try requesting to have your package delivered under your mat or hidden if its small enough. You can also request a signature or for it to be picked up at the post office.

"It's important for people who are expecting packages to be vigilant and to track their packages. Make sure they know when it's going to arrive. So that when that package is delivered to the home, they have somebody who can pick up the package immediately -- whether that be a neighbor or family friend," said Alvarez.

If you were unlucky enough to have a package stolen from your front door, follow the steps below:

1.) Call police

You need to call local police or the postal inspector's office in South Florida to file a report at 877-876-2455. That gives you more footing in dealing with the retailers.

If you happen to have a front porch camera, be sure to send the surveillance video of the porch pirates to police and share with your neighbors.

"I know that once they file a report with the local police and postal inspection service, we can start an investigation. It's important to document these incidents of theft, so that perhaps we can establish a pattern. But if it's not reported, we can't investigate," said Alvarez.

2.) Double check tracking and neighbors

You might also want to recheck your tracking number and make sure that the package shows as being delivered. Print or screencap that documentation. You might also want to double check that a well meaning neighbor doesn't have it.

3.) File a claim

Be sure to file a claim with your shipping company. Here is the information to file a claim with the following companies:

You can also file a claim using the following numbers:

AMAZON: 1-888-280-4331
FEDEX: 1-800-463-3339
UPS: 1-800-742-5877
USPS: 1-800-275-8777
EBAY: 1-866-961-9253

4.) Check coverage policies

Check your credit cards for purchase protection or even your renter's insurance. You might not know that they might reimburse you for stolen items.

5.) Get insured

If you're ordering a high-value items such as a new iPhone or tablet, you can pay a small fee to get that item insured through the vendor or through the postal service.