By Kelly Werthmann
DENVER (CBS4) – ‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, special deliveries and Grinch’s who steal your stuff.
Day or night, porch pirates are all too common. Following Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday orders, it is likely thieves will take advantage of the packages piling up on doorsteps.
“We expect 850 million parcels over these next few days,” David Rupert, spokesperson for the United States Postal Service in Colorado, said about holiday deliveries.
As USPS prepares for a busy next few weeks, Rupert is recommending people sign up for the agency’s Informed Delivery program. The program is free and it is easy to sign up.
“It kind of puts you back in the driver’s seat,” Rupert told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.
With Informed Delivery users receive email and text alerts as their mail and packages are shipped, transported and delivered.
It also gives users the option to divert their item to another drop off location if they won’t be home when it’s delivered.
“You can also have it held at the post office,” Rupert said. “We’re happy to do that. We’ll keep it safe until you come by to pick it up.”
Earlier this month, Amazon took porch piracy protection a step further. Users can sign up for Amazon Key and delivery drivers will drop off packages inside your home.
But for those who do not want strangers in their home nor thieves on their front porch, the postal service program may just deliver the protection you need.
“We’re kind of like Santa Claus,” Rupert said. “We know what’s coming to your house, but unlike Santa Claus, we’re going to tell you what’s coming there.”
Additional tips from USPS:
Protect Your Mail
Don’t leave delivered mail and packages unattended.
Just as wallets and purses shouldn’t be left on the front seat of an unlocked car overnight, mail and packages shouldn’t be left uncollected in mailboxes or on front porches for any length of time.
Consider an alternate shipping address.
Customers can arrange to have packages delivered to neighbors who are home during the day or get packages delivered at work, if permitted.
Change the package’s address — while it’s in transit!
Customers who know they won’t be home when their package is delivered can try USPS Package Intercept. Prior to delivery, most domestic package shipments can be redirected back to the sender, to a new address or to the Post Office to be held for pickup.
Customize the delivery.
If the package doesn’t fit in the mailbox and the customer won’t be home to receive it, the customer can provide delivery instructions online and authorize the carrier to leave it in a specified location. Visit usps.com, enter the tracking number and select Delivery Instructions. Customers can also request their packages be left with a neighbor or held at a Post Office for pickup.
Plan ahead. Ship using Hold for Pickup.
When shipping packages, customers can choose the Hold for Pickup option and the recipients can collect the packages at their local Post Office. For customers receiving packages, they can redirect incoming packages to their local Post Office by selecting Hold for Pickup using USPS Package Intercept.
Going out of town? Hold mail at the local Post Office.
Instead of risking leaving a package unattended for an extended period of time, customers planning on being away from home for a few days are encouraged to take advantage of the Request Hold Mail service. Letters and packages will be held securely at the local Post Office until the customers return.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.