Before we started getting all these packages delivered directly to our front door on a regular basis, I'm sure the number of porch thefts was a lot less than it is today simply because there weren't as many opportunities for porch pirates.

But now, in an Amazon-driven world, it's a super target-rich environment for the folks who prowl neighborhoods looking for unguarded piles of boxes sitting on front porches, and millions of people have had their packages swiped without a trace.

My wife vetoed my idea of my son sitting on the front porch with a shotgun to ward off would-be pilferers (and wouldn't even let me finish telling her about my bear-trap idea), so what can you do to make sure the stuff you've paid for (or what's been sent to you by someone else who has) stays in place until you collect it?

Two groups that have consumer protection as a mission statement, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) have some suggestions for you that they believe can help cut the porch pirates out of the equation.

The FTC, in a cleverly-named column called "Baby, I Stole Outside," suggests things like choosing the "signature required' option when you get to your online checkout. If no one is home to sign for the package(s) when they're delivered, they don't get dropped off on the porch.

The FTC also suggests that you give specific delivery instructions asking that packages perhaps be delivered to your backyard, or maybe a trusted neighbor's house instead of dropping them off in plain view at the front of your house.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) weighs in with a piece written by Mechele Agbayani Mills, President/CEO BBB Serving Central East Texas at Ms. Mills says that keeping track of which company will be delivering your goods and saving the receipt and tracking numbers can help you in knowing where your things are at any given time.

She also suggests picking up your packages yourself from the delivery company, setting up a neighborhood package-watch with your neighbors, and my favorite idea, a front porch lockbox. Get one with a code that you can give to the delivery company when you're filling out the "special instruction for delivery" space on your order form.

If none of those solutions appeal to you, get in touch with me and I'll send my son over with his shotgun and a couple of bear-traps. My wife said he couldn't do it at our house, but she didn't say a thing about your place.

To read more of the FTC's ideas on thwarting porch-pirates, click here.

To read the piece by the BBB's Mechele Agbayani Mills at, click here.


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