Prepare now to prevent package thefts during big online sales week

Preventing package thefts during upcoming Amazon Prime Days

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Online retailers are planning to roll out basement bargain prices next week in what’s known as Black Friday in July.

It’s a summer shopping practice launched by Amazon’s Prime Days. This year other retailers are primed to compete with Amazon for sales.

The convenience of shopping without ever walking into a store can cost more than you planned to spend if someone swipes your shipment.

“Make sure you use your confirmation codes, tracking technology, and online delivery services so you know when your package is coming to your residence,” said Sgt. Jarrett Williams with the Montgomery Police Department. “If you’re friendly with your neighbor, have them check on your package - if you know them well, maybe have the package delivered to their address if they are home during the day.”

Williams says package thefts are a crime of opportunity. Generally the suspects don’t run a sophisticated scheme or get to know homeowners’ routines.

“You can see in all the videos people walking up to the front door and taking it off the front door step,” Williams explained. “It’s most common if you chose to leave your package on your front door.”

Williams says neighbors can be your first line of defense. Communication on apps like Nextdoor and the Neighbors app by Ring Doorbell are common places for communities to exchange videos of package thieves and information on suspicious activity.

“If you have some kind of video we encourage you to post it so people will know and help keep an eye out,” he said.

MPD wants a copy of that video too. They ask all residents who are victims of package thefts to file a report so they can track when and where the packages are being stolen.

If a package is stolen from your mailbox, that’s investigated by the United States Postal Service. Boxes lifted everywhere else fall under the local police jurisdiction.

“The charge would be determined by the value of what’s in the package,” Williams said. “If you’re having an iPhone delivered at $1,000 it’s going to be a felony charge, but if you’re having a $20 pair of shoes delivered it’s going to be a misdemeanor.”

As for best consumer practices: find the retailer’s stolen package claim process before making a purchase. Don’t assume the merchandise will be replaced or refunded if stolen. Also, check to see if your credit cards offer purchase protection or purchase security benefits

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