With the year coming to a close and holiday purchases on the rise, an unwelcome fear is now back, courtesy of the various grinches around the country. Package theft is one of the biggest issues during the holiday season.
It's the busiest time of year for USPS, UPS, FedEx, and every other delivery and courier company out there, and thieves know it. That's why Reddit user tjrocket decided to offer up his expertise as a USPS postal worker to help avoid any disasters come Christmas morning.
He starts off with our basic line of defense, which is staying informed.
1) Track Your Packages - Be it the USPS, UPS, FedEX, DHL, Amazon or other - we all offer tracking. Keep an eye on your tracking and anything you order, ask for Tracking when you order your items. Amazon automatically tracks all their packages but some people don't offer this automatically. Don't be shy about it, get the tracking info and watch for your packages.
A lot of companies send packages with 'Carrier - Leave if no response' and that tells us, leave it at the door if you are not home. That's the easiest way for people to get your stuff. Amazon mandates this if your item is coming from the USPS so be aware, we will be leaving the package if you are not home. Leading to my next point...
His second point is one that most forget about. In the age of e-mail, doing something as simple as leaving a note behind is usually the last thing on someone's mind when trying to solve an issue they know they're going to run into.
2) Communicate with us - If you leave us a note, we will see it as long as it's clearly visible to us. (Leave it in your mailbox, that's the easiest way for us to see it because that is what we are trying to find on your property.)
As mentioned earlier, we at the USPS have to leave any Amazon packages or 'Leave if No Response' packages regardless of requests because at this time of year, we just don't have the space to hold onto all of it at our office, and Amazon does not allow us to delay your package for any reason short of a legitimate emergency. Want us to deliver behind your house or to a neighbor? We can do that as long as no one has to sign for it with ID but we don't know unless you tell us.
And for holiday travelers...
3) Going out of town? Put a hold on your mail - We offer this for free on the USPS website located Here and we can hold all your items for up to 30 days.
If you think it's okay to go a day or two without holding your mail - you are wrong. Those packages are the first to get stolen. We get a printout everyday of our temporary holds so use it. It's a free service that you can do from your home, tablet or phone so if you don't use it... Sorry. :/
For those that aren't anxiously waiting for a free same-day delivery package on the regular, he recommends doing the bare minimum.
4) Check your mail - it is standard policy that if a mail box is full or unsecured - we hold your mail and stop ALLdelivery to your residence if your box is stuffed with mail or left open to potential theft. No Mail, Amazon, Priority, Express... Nothing.
Empty your mail box. It delays the mail for us to fight with it and delaying the mail is ILLEGAL so we have to skip your residence if it is full or unsecured. To resume service you must collect your mail from the Post Office that services your house. If you live downtown, that typically means you have to drive to the Seattle Carrier Annex in SoDo, bring I.D. and collect it from a clerk or supervisor.
Note - we don't have a standard customer service window and getting the carriers out on their routes is our priority. You can wait for up to an Hour sometimes to get your mail so, just keep your mail box clear and secure because that wait can SUCK!
In addition to preventing theft of packages from your home, it's entirely possible nowadays to remove that variable by taking your home out of the equation.
4) Amazon Lockers -If for whatever reason, you just don't feel secure with packages arriving to your house or apartment, Amazon does offer Parcel Locker deliveries located at places like 7-11 and QFC/Safeway.
We drop the packages there, in a secure area and you get a code sent to you so when it's convenient for you, you can get your package there. If I remember correctly, you have 3 days to go get your package from when we drop it off. For more info on that, Amazon offers a list of Amazon Locker locations here
And if the worst happens, there are measures taken to at least help you recoup the cost of your item.
5) Amazon Theft - This comes as no consolation, I know, but - All Amazon packages are insured from theft. Believe me they are a part of the process from when you order until we at the USPS, deliver.
That Goes for UPS and FedEx as well. If your package is lost, stolen etc - please call us at 1(800) ASK-USPS. You hate having your packages stolen, and we hate it too, especially during the holiday season.
And if you're taking advantage of Sunday deliveries, please keep in mind that if there are any preventable complications the carrier faces, you aren't getting your package.
6) Sunday Delivery of Amazon - the USPS and Amazon both deliver Amazon packages on Sunday. This can be problematic for those who live in an apartment with Codes, Key-fob or Security Card entries. If we can't get in your building, we cannot deliver your items and they will be returned to the station to have your regular carrier deliver on the next business day.
These carriers are not your regular carrier and may not be able to get you package to a secure location. They will not have any unique keys, fobs, cards or codes usually and If they can't reach you via the call box, we will not deliver it. No amount of complaining will change that. If you order for Sunday delivery, make sure they can reach you because they will attempt delivery only once.
In summation - we WANT to get your packages and mail to you as fast and secure as possible. Life can happen and we can't prevent all theft but to ensure that we did our best, keep us informed of your particular needs. A call to the delivery agent can help immensely in avoiding this.
Having a package delivered to your job is also an option, provided that you clear it with the higher ups beforehand. Happy clicking!