What to do if a package is stolen from your porch or apartment

There are few things more fun to see in an inbox during the middle of the day than an email confirming the delivery of an online order. We’ve all been there—moving a little faster than usual during the commute home, excited to unwrap whatever it is that just arrived.

So what if you get to your porch or front steps and that package is nowhere in sight? Unfortunately, there’s a chance that you’re a victim of theft.

Packages are stolen off of porches and stoops, and out of entryways more often than you might think. In fact, 30% of Americans say they’ve experienced package theft, and more than half know someone else who has.

The upside here is that if a package is stolen from your porch or apartment, you’re far from alone. Many others have successfully navigated the same situation in the past—and by following the five steps in this post, you can, too.

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1. Look in a few other locations.

Before taking any other steps, you’ll want to make sure your package was really stolen. If you only looked in the area where deliveries are normally left, it’s worth taking a few extra minutes to look elsewhere.

Even if your online orders are always left in the same spot, there’s a chance that there’s a new delivery person on your route, or that the package was hidden or moved to avoid theft.

Check behind any outdoor furniture (and under any shrubs or bushes), and you might just find that a neighbor saw your delivery in plain sight and wanted to prevent it from being stolen off the porch or front entrance. If your landlord or super are in your building, you can also check with them to make sure that they didn’t bring the package inside or move it.

2. Double-check the delivery information.

After confirming that your package is nowhere to be found, it’s a good idea to double-check the delivery details. Find your confirmation email and make sure that your address is correct.

Then, navigate to the package tracking page and review the details provided by the carrier. In some cases, the delivery person will leave a note to let you know where they left the package, like “side of house,” or “in recycling bin.” If you ordered something from Amazon, you may have even received a photo of the package after delivery.

3. Do a little investigating, then report the stolen package to the police.

If you live in a rental unit, ask your landlord or building super if there are any security cameras installed, and whether you (or they) can review footage from around the time when your package was delivered. And if you have a home security system installed, check for any suspicious or unusual activity.

Anything you find will not only give you some insight into what may have happened, but will also be helpful with the next step: reporting your stolen package to the police.

Even if the police are unable to dedicate time to look into a single missing delivery, it’s worth your time to document the incident. That way, if package theft becomes a common issue in your neighborhood, they’ll notice—and will be more likely to investigate.

4. Report your stolen package to the seller.

Now that you’ve properly documented the theft and reported the stolen package to the police, it’s time to reach out to the seller. Provide your order number, tracking information, the date of the incident, and your police report.

Many sellers are willing to help their customers in these situations by replacing the stolen items. If the order was placed on Amazon, for example, the company’s A-to-z Guarantee might cover you, as it allows customers to request refunds for most items sold by third-party sellers. This means that even if the original seller is unwilling to help, you may be able still get your money back.

5. Reach out to the carrier.

While some sellers are happy to help customers if a package is stolen, that’s not always the case. So if you purchased directly from a seller that falls into this category (and not through a third-party platform like Amazon), you may not be able to get a refund.

Still, there’s a chance that the carrier can help. If USPS delivered your package, for example, you can file a claim on their website. If your shipment was insured, receiving a full refund should be a breeze.

Preventing package theft

Dealing with package theft is a pain. So whether you’re able to recover your stolen delivery or not, the final step in the process is learning what precautionary measures you can take to avoid dealing with the same situation in the future.

One of the best ways to prevent theft is to have your packages delivered to an address where someone will be present, if possible. If you work full-time, for example, consider using your office as your delivery address—as long as your boss is cool with it, of course.

If you order something particularly expensive online, it may even be worth it to rearrange your schedule on the delivery day so that you can be home to accept it. This can save you from having to deal with the hassle that comes along with theft—and it’s well worth the minor inconvenience.

Finally, if you don’t yet have renters insurance, signing up for a policy can make situations like this much less frustrating to handle. With Jetty Renters Insurance, for example, you could be covered in the event of a stolen delivery after you report the stolen package to the police.