The holiday season is in full swing. Many consumers take to the Internet for holiday shopping that is quick and convenient. However, as consumers make their holiday purchases online and await the arrival of their packages, it is important to be alert to the possibility of package theft. Every holiday season, packages are swept off the doorsteps of unsuspecting consumers and into the hands of thieves.

"Consumers should be alert and proactive when tracking their packages," said Nancy B. Cahalen, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central New England. "Be sure to keep your tracking number to follow up and remember the expected arrival date."

Thieves are not always concerned with the contents of the package. If they see a package sitting outside, they may be willing to steal it for their own use or for the opportunity to resell the goods. BBB offers the following tips to help protect your purchases from those who might want to take advantage of your shopping for themselves:

Be sure you know which company is delivering your package.

Know the tracking number: Most delivery services offer text, email or Web-based notifications that allow you to track your package's delivery status. Track your purchases often until you receive the merchandise. Contact the store immediately if your package is not received when indicated.

Always request a signature confirmation upon delivery. This will prevent the delivery person from leaving the package unattended.


Request a delivery time when you know you will be home.

If you know you will not be at home when your delivery is scheduled, consider having your items shipped to a trusted neighbor or friend who you know will be at home. Ask them to be on the lookout for the delivery in case the delivery person doesn't ring the doorbell.

Have the package shipped to your place of employment if permissible.

Give special instructions for delivery if needed. Ask the package delivery company to leave your purchases somewhere they cannot be seen from the street, e.g. back porch, behind the back door, etc.

Request that the package be held at the delivery company's local delivery center and pick it up there.

Have the item shipped to the retailer's nearest store for "in-store pick-up."

When you do receive your merchandise, examine it immediately. If you believe it's been tampered with, contact the store immediately.