Holiday packages are vulnerable to theft when left on front porches and steps, so we have a few tips on how to protect your purchases.

They're not-so-affectionately called 'porch pirates.' The people who scour neighborhoods, looking for packages that have been left outside homes. What's inside doesn't really matter to them. Whatever it is can probably be sold for profit. And the packages are easy pickings, sitting outside empty houses, on quiet streets. One quick grab and they're gone. And so is whatever you bought.

I had a small scare this year, when Amazon's website said a package full of presents for my grandkids had been delivered, but I didn't have it. Luckily, the UPS person had just mixed up the houses (yes, I have a number on my house) and delivered it to the wrong address. My new neighbor brought the box over when she realized it wasn't hers.

So, I found a website called 'Prevent Package Theft,' and wanted to share some of the suggestions listed there about how to avoid falling victim to porch pirates.The first is what I'll be doing in the future, and that's having packages delivered to your work. Not everyone works in a situation where this is convenient but, if at all possible, use this method to avoid it being left unattended.

Installing a security camera on your door is also an excellent suggestion. And you might consider putting up a sign, informing visitors that they're on camera. Thieves tend to avoid being seen on camera and will likely skip your porch if they notice the added security. Plus, if you do lose a package, that video could help the cops catch the culprits.

Lock boxes are also an effective security measure. Inform the delivery service that they are to place the package in the box and then lock it. Not only will it be safely locked away, but the package also won't be visible to passersby.

Of course, you can always look into whether deliveries can be made when you're home. Or, ask a trusted neighbor who's home during the day to take care of your parcel until you can claim it.

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