TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- Holiday shopping is set to surge online this year as a result of the pandemic.
With an increase online, local law enforcement says there's a chance for an increase in theft.
We've heard of the term porch pirates before, but this year you may be at even greater risk to their scams.
"We are anticipating seeing more porch pirates this year due to the fact that people will be doing more online shopping. For the porch pirate, they don't know what they're getting inside that package, and it's just grab-and-go and something they can try and sell and make a profit or it's something that they could give to a family member," Sgt. Matt Ames with Indiana State Police.
Fear of in-person shopping, plus more time at home... behind a screen... means more time to click and buy.
In fact, a study by Adobe Analytics, says U.S. consumers spent 21.7 billion online within the first 10 days of the holiday shopping seasons.
For porch pirates, this creates an even bigger opportunity to take those packages.
So how do you avoid the risks?
- Stay vigilant, if something seems off, it most likely is.
- Keep an eye on suspicious cars and neighborhood activity.
- Install camera devices such as a Ring doorbell.
- Ask for your packages to require a signature before drop-off.
- Have a trusted neighbor keep an eye out for your packages.
- Go to the post office and collect your package in-person.
- Keep a light on your porch, it's less likely to be stolen if there's more visibility.
Sgt. Ames says these are all ways to protect yourself against the pirates, an issue that's still on the rise.
"There was a study done in 2017 from the insurance agencies that stated that there were over 6 million packages that were taken off of porches here in the united states. So this is a prevalent thing. Porch pirates just grab-and-go and sometimes they're out of the area before they can even be noticed. So stay vigilant and contact local law enforcement to do an investigation," said Ames.
ISP patrols will be out during the holidays. If you see something suspicious, call the police immediately so that they can pursue a further investigation.