Protect your packages from thieves with holiday shopping, deliveries in full swing


It’s now bigger than Black Friday.

But as shoppers looked for the best online deals on this Cyber Monday, how much attention did they pay to the delivery options?

The U.S. Postal Service says mail theft increases between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Tracking your packages, requiring a signature, or picking up your deliveries at the post office are just some of the ways to make sure your mail doesn’t get stolen.

U.S. Postal Inspector Brian Shaughnessy tells us each year during the holiday season, they’re concerned about the risk of parcel thefts.

Officials encourage people to make a complaint, because mail theft is often an under-reported crime.

“If individuals want to behave in this type of criminal behavior, then we anticipate making numerous arrests this holiday season,” Shaughnessy said.

Shaughnessy tells us for the most part, mail in Hawaii is very secure compared to certain places on the mainland, but mail theft does occur across the state.

“We are going to be out on the street all hours during the day and night during the holiday season to prevent these thefts from occurring,” he said.

Stealing mail is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Shaughnessy says mail theft cases involving P.O. box customers receive the highest priority.

The U.S. Postal Service also offers a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in mail theft.

If you’re a victim of mail theft and the USPS was in charge of the delivery, you need to make a report with USPS.

It’s recommended you make one with police as well, but not necessary.

“They can not only file a report with us but make a police report and inquire with the merchant to see what type of refund or exchange options that they offer,” said Shaughnessy.

Click here for more information from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the federal law enforcement and security arm of the U.S. Postal Service.

You can also call the Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455.

UPS offers the following tips:

  • Have the shipment sent to where you are, not where you aren’t. If you are at work during the day, have packages delivered there, or choose to have things sent to a relative or neighbor who is home during the day.
  • Tell your UPS driver where you’d like packages left, for example, in the shed in the backyard or behind the garage. Drivers can enter that information into their handheld computers for future deliveries.
  • Consumers can sign up for the free UPS My Choice® service that gives them more control over their residential deliveries. UPS My Choice sends a text message or email when their packages are on the way.  With the UPS My Choice mobile app, package recipients can redirect their packages to nearby UPS Access Point locations for pick-up at a more convenient time. UPS My Choice members can even set a preference to have all their packages delivered directly to a UPS Access Point location, instead of a UPS driver attempting a delivery to their home.
  • UPS Access Point locations are convenient retailers such as delis, grocery stores, dry cleaners, florists and The UPS Store locations with evening and weekend hours. Nearly 9,000 UPS Access Point locations throughout the U.S. provide about 78 percent of U.S. consumers an alternative to home delivery that’s within five miles of their residence.
  • People can also consider using mailbox services at their local The UPS Store. These centers can serve as a “mailroom receiving agent” and offer a real street address, secure 24-hour access (at participating locations) and email or text notification when you have a package waiting. Unlike the Post Office, The UPS Store can accept packages from all carriers.

FedEx offers the following tips:

  • Consider an alternate destination. When you order something online, consider sending the package to your workplace or to a family member, friend or neighbor who is home during the day to accept delivery or to one of our FedEx Onsite locations throughout the U.S.
    • FedEx Onsite is a U.S. network of alternate delivery locations, born out of our customers’ telling us they want more choices for package delivery and drop off. Locations include FedEx authorized Ship Centers, some Albertsons and Kroger grocery stores, and nearly 8,000 Walgreens locations across the country.
  • Send it to your nearest FedEx Office location. You can have your deliveries sent to the nearest FedEx Office location, and we’ll hold it for you for up to five business days. FedEx provides this service at no added cost. If it’s a FedEx Express package, you can also have your package sent to one of our FedEx Express stations. Find the location nearest you at fedex.com/locate.
  • Request a signature. Many packages today are sent without requiring a signature for delivery. If you’re shipping something of high value — or you just want to be sure items aren’t left unattended — you can require a signature for packages to be released. Either the shipper or the recipient can make this request.
  • Request a vacation hold. Taking a holiday trip to visit family or friends? You can request a vacation hold on all shipments for up to 14 days.
  • Ask for a ring. Use FedEx Delivery Manager to let your driver know you want a ring—or a knock. You can leave instructions for drivers to always ring your doorbell or knock on your door when a package is being left. Do you like your packages left behind the big planter or tucked behind the grill beside the back door? Use FedEx Delivery Manager® to leave one-time-only or standing instructions for where you want FedEx to leave your deliveries. You can also let your driver know your instructions by calling 1.800.463.3339.
  • Schedule your delivery. Request to get your delivery on your time, not ours. Pick a delivery time and date that works for you.
  • Redirect your packages even when they’re already on the way. With FedEx Delivery Manager, you’ll be alerted of every FedEx package headed to your home, even if you don’t have the tracking number. If you know you won’t be home and want to send the delivery somewhere else, just redirect it to where you’ll be, or another secure location.

The FedEx mobile app is available for both Androids and iPhones via the app store and gives package recipients the ability to electronically sign for a package, request a vacation hold or choose a Hold at FedEx location.

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