Protect online purchases from 'porch pirates' this Black Friday

TEMPTING GOODS: Black Friday is a great opportunity to pick up some huge deals just before Christmas, so don't let porch pirates get to deliveries first.
TEMPTING GOODS: Black Friday is a great opportunity to pick up some huge deals just before Christmas, so don't let porch pirates get to deliveries first.

With 9.46 million Australians now shopping online, it has never been easier to hunt for bargains and have items delivered straight to your door. While shopping up a storm can be as easy as scrolling through an Instagram feed and clicking the 'shop now' button, Australia has seen a sharp rise in the number of stolen parcels from 'porch pirates'. The New Daily reported that in Victoria alone, 141 people were charged with mail theft offences in 2018, which was more than double the case of 2017 and the highest year to date.

With many people wanting to cash in on this year's Black Friday sales (scheduled for November 29), it's important for those expecting online shopping deliveries to remain extra vigilant. Darryn Bull from ADT Security has the following advice to reduce the opportunities of parcel theft.

  • Have parcels delivered to one of Australia Post's free parcel lockers. To find one that suits, sign up for a MyPost account. There are more than 330 locations to choose from, with SMS notifications and emails notifying customers that their parcel is ready for collection. Shoppers have 48 hours to retrieve the parcel.
  • If possible, consider having packages delivered to the office or to the address of a friend who works from home.
  • When choosing the delivery option, select one that requires a signature upon receipt.
  • Many e-commerce sites now ask shoppers to fill in where they would like the parcel left if they're not home to receive it. So provide some instructions for the delivery driver, describing a spot that's easy for them to find but where the parcel won't be visible to passers-by.
  • Consider installing an ADT Interactive camera at the front door. By integrating cameras with ADT's Home Automation system, customers can log in to the ADT Security app and visually verify whether the package has arrived (even just the sight of a camera can be enough to make some pirates abandon ship). It's also possible to receive alerts if the camera detects motion, to instantly know when a courier has delivered the goods.
  • In the unfortunate event that a parcel does appear to have been stolen, there are several actions to take. Firstly, try contacting the vendor, as they may offer a refund, or speak to the shipping company to verify the delivery details. Also check with credit card providers as they may offer insurance protection against stolen goods.