What the Tech? Amazon Prime Day: Watch Out for Porch Pirates

Amazon Prime Day is expected to set new sales records again this year. The 2-day event starts Tuesday morning 1 minute after midnight and runs through midnight Wednesday.

By Friday, porch pirates are expected to be busy stealing what’s been delivered right from the front porch.

There are a few things you can do to either thwart thefts or possibly catch the bad guys.

Video doorbells can catch porch pirates in the act but most of the time the homeowner and shopper can only watch packages being taken away. Most video doorbells have just one camera aimed at eye level of the person at the door.

The Maximus DualCam Answer doorbell has two cameras. One captures an image at eye-level while another is pointed down to show deliveries. The doorbell also sends an alert to a smartphone app whenever it detects movement or someone rings the doorbell. A subscription to the Kuna app will save videos that can be turned over to the police.

Other solutions can be found on the Amazon website as you complete purchases. By tapping or clicking “add delivery instructions” under your shipping address, you can request that packages be dropped off at the back door, side porch, or garage. You can also choose to have the package dropped off at your office in the reception area.

When choosing your Prime delivery options it is tempting to always choose free 2-day shipping (for Prime members), but by clicking on “change preference” you can choose to pick a day when someone will be home.

Another option is to have packages dropped off at an Amazon Locker. This is available in some areas where retailers have these lockers located in their stores. The item will be placed in a locker and you’ll receive a notification that it is ready for pickup along with a code to open the locker. You’ll find this option under your shipping address in the Amazon checkout.

If your delivery is being made by an Amazon delivery driver you will get notifications on your phone with an estimate of what time it will be delivered. The notifications will show the location of the driver and how many stops are left before it arrives at your house or work.

Some companies are selling specialty-made lockers that you can place at your front door for deliveries. Parcel Guard smart mailboxes weigh 40 pounds or more and connect to your home’s WiFi router. When deliveries are made in the top slot or drawer, they immediately drop to a secure space at the bottom of the mailbox that is opened with either a key or through a
smartphone app. The Danby Parcel Guard mailboxes start at $250.

Police say porch pirates can be difficult to stop in the act because thefts happen so quickly.

Sometimes these thieves follow delivery trucks in getaway cars or even on foot. When the dropoff is made, the bad guys run to the front porch and take the package before getting back into their vehicle and speeding off.

A police officer I spoke with said if a video doorbell captures a porch pirate in the act the homeowner should post that to social media and if someone recognizes the thief, turn the video and information into police.

You can also report thefts to Amazon.

Categories: News Video, What The Tech