Was Your Amazon Package Stolen? Here’s What To Do

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J.R. Tietsort

Chief Information Security Officer at Aura

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    Porch Piracy Is on the Rise: What Are You Doing About It?

    For a Utah family, it took a GPS tracking device tucked away in a box outside their house to finally catch the neighborhood package thief.[*] After having lost several hundred dollars worth of packages to porch pirates, the family was determined to put an end to the thefts.

    And that’s just one case. In total, Americans lost 210 million packages that were stolen off porches in 2021.[*]

    Why is this happening? One of the most prominent post-pandemic buying trends has been the steady rise of online shopping. The e-commerce shopping levels between April and May of 2020 alone were higher than all holiday season spending in 2019![*]

    Most online purchases get delivered to homes. And to keep customers and delivery executives safe amid a global pandemic, e-commerce stores resorted to contactless package deliveries.

    These online shopping behaviors are steadily finding their way into a post-pandemic future. If you’re worried about Amazon package thefts, here are nine things you can do.

    What To Do If Your Amazon Package Was Stolen

    1. Check “Your Orders” to find more information

    If Amazon marked your package as Delivered but you haven’t received it 48 hours later, check the “Your Orders” option on your Amazon account to find additional information.

    You’ll see the complete tracking details of your package — from when it shipped to when it arrived at its destination. And you can verify whether the delivery was actually made.

    What to do:

    • Go to the app and click on the hamburger icon at the bottom right.
    • You’ll see a navigation menu screen. From the options on the screen, click Your Orders to view all recent orders.
    • Next, select the order you want to track.
    • You should see a delivery timeline and a status update about your package. If it has already been delivered, for example, you’ll see when and where it was delivered.
    • If there was a delivery issue, your status update might look like this instead:
    Image showing Amazon delivery timeline
    Source: Reddit

    2. Verify your shipping address

    If you still can’t locate your package after verifying that Amazon delivered it, double-check your shipping address.

    Even a small misspelling of the street's name or the house number on your Amazon order — for example, House 11i (instead of House 111) — can lead to a lost package. 

    Check other information like your phone number, street, state, suite number, and apartment to ensure that it all matches your expected destination.

    Lost or delayed deliveries can also boil down to driver experience. If you have an incorrect Google Maps location, the actual home address will be shown as being outside of Amazon’s delivery zone. Newer Amazon Flex drivers may not know how to mark deliveries as being complete in such cases.

    Instructions on how to correct addresses on Google Maps
    Submit reports on Google Maps Help to receive instructions on how to update an address. Source: Google Maps Help

    What to do:

    • Within the missing order, click on Track your package. You’ll see the delivery address to which Amazon sent your package.
    • Check to see if Amazon has the right pin location for your home address. If there were multiple misdeliveries, they may have an incorrect geotag for you.
    • Alternatively, you can also report incorrect directions and addresses to Google Maps.

    3. Check with your neighbors

    Misdeliveries happen — especially if you and your next-door neighbor have similar-looking porches. If a delivery arrived for you while you were away, a thoughtful neighbor may be holding onto it for you.

    While it’s not your responsibility to correct a delivery driver’s mistake, it may be worthwhile to check in with your neighbors about missing packages.

    And even if they don’t have your package, they might have information that you could use to locate it. Maybe they saw someone visit you, for example.

    What to do:

    • Check around your house before you approach your neighbor. The delivery person may have left your package someplace more secure than the front porch.
    • Identify discernable differences between your address vs. your neighbor’s address by using the aerial view on Google Maps. A specific driveway or the color of your door could be helpful information in your delivery instructions.
    • Make sure you’ve opted in to receive a Photo on Delivery for unattended deliveries from Amazon. To see delivery photos, sign in to your account and navigate to Track your package under Your Orders. Unless your address is marked as confidential, Amazon almost always takes photos upon delivery.

    4. Did the retailer use a courier service? Check your mailbox

    Amazon retailers often use shipping companies like FedEx and USPS based on location, package size, and weight. If these carriers don’t find you at home, they’ll leave your package in your mailbox.

    USPS failed delivery notice on Amazon
    Source: Twitter

    Amazon has little to no control over your package’s delivery when retailers use courier services. So, if you don’t find your package in your mailbox, file a complaint with the shipping company.

    What to do: 

    • Confirm you’ve not received a text or email notification from your mailbox service. The UPS Store mailbox, for example, sends you a text after a package arrives.
    • If an Amazon seller used a courier service and your mailbox is empty, file a package claim with the courier service. File claims with UPS, FedEx, DHL Express, or USPS. Sometimes national carriers may also use regional couriers for deliveries. When this happens, the tracking number on the national carrier’s website may not be accurate.
    • Contact these carriers separately with any delivery instructions you may have included in your Amazon account. Those notes are only available to Amazon drivers.

    5. Look for delivery attempts

    With high-value packages that require a one-time password (OTP), delivery executives will not deliver them unattended. Amazon will attempt a delivery three times on consecutive days before they return your package for a refund.

    Notice of an Amazon delivery attempt
    Amazon typically sends Delivery Attempted emails that look like the one above. But if you don’t check your email often, you may miss the attempted delivery notification. Source Twitter

    What to do:

    • On the Amazon mobile app, click on View Order Details to see if there was a delivery attempt notification.
    • Was your package undeliverable? Packages may be marked as undeliverable and returned for a refund due to many reasons, including damages in transit or failed delivery attempts. If you suspect a package can't be delivered and haven’t received any confirmation, contact Amazon Support.

    6. Contact the third-party seller

    Third-party sellers use Amazon for direct access to buyers and often have their own customer service process. If you can’t locate your package fulfilled by a merchant (and not Amazon), contact the third-party seller immediately. 

    Since third-party sellers use personal shipping services, there’s very little Amazon can do for you unless you’re an Amazon Prime customer.

    How to contact an Amazon third-party seller
    Source: Business Insider

    What to do:

    • Before you contact the seller, confirm that they don’t participate in Customer Service by Amazon and that your order doesn’t qualify for Amazon Prime.
    • Navigate to Problem with order from the applicable order under Your Orders. Leave a message for the seller in Contact seller and wait at least two days.
    • If you don't hear from the seller after two days, go to A-to-z Guarantee (see below) to see if you qualify.

    7. Request an A-to-z Guarantee refund after 48 hours

    If you wait 48 hours and the seller doesn’t respond — or can’t offer recourse — contact Amazon. Amazon may ask the seller to replace the lost item or issue you a refund under their A-to-z Guarantee.

    What to do:

    • First confirm that you’re eligible for a refund under the A-to-z Guarantee.
    • Locate your order under Your Orders. Select Problem with the order and then click on Request refund.
    • Fill in details about your order via the third-party seller and hit Submit.
    • Also check to see if you qualify for an automatic refund. If the third-party seller did not provide valid tracking information or deliver the order by the estimated delivery date, they can’t dispute your claim.[*]

    Amazon can take up to a week to review your request. But once they do, you’ll get an email about processing your refund.

    💡 Related: 14 Amazon Scams You Didn't Know About (Until Now) →

    8. Alert the police

    If you suspect a porch pirate is responsible for your missing package, contact the police to file a report. While local law enforcement can’t do much to ensnare package thieves right away, they can check neighborhood security cameras (or video doorbells!) for evidence.

    Timely alerts to the police will allow them to send officers in plain clothes to patrol the area. If other people in the area also report the same incident, it makes it easier for the police to investigate and catch the porch thieves.

    Did you know? In an attempt to combat porch piracy, Washington D.C. police have installed lockers at local police stations.[*] Residents in the area can use their phones to pick up deliveries made to one of these police station hubs.

    9. Seek purchase protection through your credit card

    Some credit card issuers offer purchase protection to cover customers’ stolen packages. Purchase protection can be helpful if you made your Amazon purchase with an eligible card and the seller can’t refund you (or replace your stolen item). 

    Check with your card issuer, and inquire about their purchase protection policy. If they have one, ask if you’re eligible for a replacement or reimbursement. Many issuers will ask that you have these documents before you file a claim:

    • A police or lost report
    • An itemized receipt showing the purchase date, time, and location
    • A credit card statement showing the record of the transaction
    Chase purchase protection form
    Source: Business Insider

    What to do:

    • Call the customer service number on the back of your credit card. Or visit your credit card issuer’s official website. You’ll be directed to fill out a form with the details of the stolen item and submit any supporting documents.
    • Purchase protection claims are usually only valid if submitted within 90 days of the damage, theft, or involuntary and accidental parting of your purchase.
    • Remember that you can’t claim both purchase protection and the A-to-z guarantee.

    To Prevent Package Theft in the Future:

    Opt for secure deliveries with an OTP

    Opt for the Password required option when you make a purchase on Amazon. Amazon will then send a six-digit, one-time code to your email address. If that option is not available online, you can also request passwords by informing the seller or delivery company.

    OTP delivery email from Amazon
    Source: Verified.org

    This way, when couriers come to deliver your package, and you’re not at the designated location, they know not to leave your package on your porch. You can also assign a secondary receiver — someone who is always present, such as a neighbor, family member, or friend.

    Try Amazon Key for in-garage deliveries

    Amazon Key lets you receive deliveries into your garage as long as you use the myQ app to control your garage door. Choose the “Key Delivery” option at Amazon checkout to start receiving in-garage deliveries.

    Delivery drivers are granted one-time access to your garage without codes, passwords, or keys.  Switching back to doorstep delivery is also an easy option within the Amazon website or app. 

    Use a locker service or porch lock box

    Locker services and porch lock boxes offer a self-service delivery option that helps you receive your packages until you’re available to collect them.

    • For example, Amazon’s Locker service lets customers receive orders and access them with a four-digit code at a self-service kiosk. Visit Amazon, and enter your zip code or house address to find a locker near you. These are usually located at nearby supermarkets, convenience stores, or banks.
    • Amazon also has a staffed counter service that lets you pick up deliveries from convenience stores or pharmacies.
    • Another alternative is a lock box that you can bolt to the porch floor. These lockers usually come with an electronic keypad which allows the delivery driver to access the box. Simply leave the access code on a separate address line as you fill in shipping details.

    And if there are no Amazon lockers or counters around you, check with your local postal service centers like UPS or USPS.

    If you search for “UPS Access Points near me,” you may find a location near you in the United States that offers UPS package drop-off and delivery services.

    Install a security camera

    Setting up a home security system like DoorCam is the best way to capture what goes on around your home when you’re away. 

    If you’re not at home and a porch thief steals a package from your front door, your doorbell camera can discreetly record everything. With the recording, you have evidence to help file for a refund, replacement, or police report.

    Some home security cameras can also respond to movement and distinguish people, pets, and passing vehicles from package deliveries. Security measures like these tend to deter porch thieves, prompting fewer attempts to steal your packages.

    Ship packages to your office or collect them in person

    When ordering online, learn about the shipping company’s delivery hours. For example, Amazon delivery hours are between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm local time. 

    If you’re going to be at work during those hours, it’s better to have packages delivered to your office address. This way you’re not leaving packages exposed or unattended for long periods. 

    A failsafe requires a signature on receipt so that you or a designated recipient can collect packages. 

    Popular carriers like UPS and FedEx also let you hold packages at nearby, secure pickup locations for up to seven days. You’ll need a tracking number and government-issued photo ID to make a successful pickup. After the seven-day hold, packages are returned to the shipper.

    📚 Related: How To Know If You’ve Received a Fake USPS Tracking Number

    Add special delivery instructions

    During busy periods like the holidays, delivery drivers tend to carry hundreds of packages. Without special instructions, they’re more likely to lose your package — or deliver it to the wrong address.

    Screenshot showing the special delivery instructions feature
    Amazon lets you add special delivery instructions under Your Orders.

    Add detailed delivery instructions to your order so that your package reaches you on time. Shipping companies like UPS, FedEx, and USPS offer services that allow you to set these instructions at a negligible cost.

    💡 Related: The Worst Holidays Scams of The Year (and How To Avoid Them) →

    Protect Yourself From Porch Pirates

    E-commerce sales are expected to reach $1.1 trillion in 2022[*] — a sign that porch piracy could also be proliferating. Not only does this type of crime rob you of your packages — but also your personal identifying information (PII). 

    Home addresses, phone numbers, and full names are all that scammers need to commit a brushing scam. They could even unlawfully change your mailing address and intercept important documents. These scams could be warning signs of identity theft.

    If you’re wondering how much of your PII is easily available online or what to do in case of identity theft, consider Aura.

    Aura’s #1-rated digital security solution monitors your PII (including your bank, credit, and investment accounts) for signs of fraud.

    If anything suspicious is flagged, you’ll be notified in near real-time. And should the worst happen, you’re covered by a $1,000,000 insurance policy for eligible losses due to identity theft.

    Porch piracy could mean more than just stolen packages. Try Aura free for 14 days. →

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    1. Financial identity theft and fraud
    2. Medical identity theft
    3. Child identity theft
    4. Elder fraud and estate identity theft
    5. “Friendly” or familial identity theft
    6. Employment identity theft
    7. Criminal identity theft
    8. Tax identity theft
    9. Unemployment and government benefits identity theft
    10. Synthetic identity theft
    11. Identity cloning
    12. Account takeovers (social media, email, etc.)
    13. Social Security number identity theft
    14. Biometric ID theft
    15. Crypto account takeovers