How to keep your holiday packages safe from Porch Pirates (Tips from an Amazon Flex Driver)

I am an Amazon Flex delivery driver and with the holidays gearing up, I wanted to offer some helpful info to protect your packages from porch pirates.

Most of us really do try to take extra care to hide your packages from view because stolen packages count against us and too many will get us deactivated. I see a lot of front doors that have no columns, no decor, nothing. Just wide open.

These are specific to ordering from Amazon, some tips will only be useful for amazon packages but some may be useful for USPS and UPS too. Amazon is transitioning to be solely delivered by the white van contractors and Flex contractors and less packages will go out usps or ups, but it depends on where your order is shipping from.

1. Put some things out on your porch. A wooden box or Rubbermaid tub, (you can even put directions for us to put packages IN the box), a large planter, a lot of people did straw bales for fall, Christmas decorations, etc. Pretty shrubs in front of your porch is another option. Many HOA’s require some shrubbery in your yard, so place them strategically. Just something that we can stick packages behind. It doesn’t completely eliminate risk but if they aren’t visible from the street, it decreases the odds of being stolen.

2. You can have your packages delivered to your work address or the address of a friend or someone who is home.

3. You can put in your delivery instructions (you will have to edit your address to do this) to place the package on a back porch, around a corner, or another safe, accessible place at your home. Keep in mind if the driver feels they can’t safely access the location, they will probably return it to the warehouse.

4. If you are absolutely certain someone will be home, you can request that the delivery be attended, ie: we wait and hand the package to someone. But PLEASE don’t do this unless you are sure someone will be home because it delays everyone else’s packages if we have to wait and try to call you.

5. If you have or get a USPS box or box at the UPS store , those places usually will accept packages for you, and you can just put that address in for delivery. If you are ordering a lot, it might be worth paying for the box for the month.

6. Although the Ring doorbells don’t seem to prevent package theft altogether, you at least get proof that it was stolen and can file a police report. If you have one, make sure it’s charged up, pay the $3 a month to have it save video for you so that you can access it because otherwise if you come home and your package is gone, you can’t go back and review video clips. You have to pay for the service to be able to go back and review them.

7. Amazon doesn’t generally deliver after 930 pm, but in rare cases where it was a difficult route or left the warehouse late, a driver may approach your house a little later than that but likely won’t ring your doorbell after 930. We’d rather get your package to you than have to take it back to the warehouse (which also counts against us in many cases). Every Flex driver is an independent contractor, some ring doorbells or knock, some don’t. If you prefer your doorbell always be rung, please put a note in the delivery instructions “please ring doorbell”. They won’t stay until you answer the door unless you specific that you want them to, but they will ring the doorbell if they ordinarily wouldn’t have. I try to always ring or knock within reasonable hours.

*and remember, please, if you see someone in a regular car, driving slowly, going up to porches, shining a light on house numbers, chances are good it’s a Flex driver. Our app requires us to take a picture of the package after we leave it on your porch, so if you see us taking a picture, that’s why. In most cases, the picture also is posted on your order tracking so that you know where to locate your package.

Most of us try to wear an orange vest for identification. Some may not. Occasionally, we realize we left a package at the wrong address and go back to get it but this doesn’t happen often. You should see us carrying packages TO the porch, not generally FROM the porch. If you see someone doing this on *your* property, you may politely approach us and ask to see our identification on our delivery app. We do not carry an identification card but we can click on our photo in the app and it will show us as a delivery driver.

Please be polite when asking, we usually try to avoid confrontations and many of us are exhausted and sometimes frustrated by other delivery issues. Please don’t accost us on the public street and demand to see ID. Sometimes we are moving quickly because we want to get done and home to our families. For many, this is a 2nd or 3rd job.

Hopefully this helps your holiday month go smoother with less hassles! When in doubt, take a video or picture, and contact the police or you may even send me the picture and i can try to identify if it’s one of our drivers but we have hundreds so I may not be able to.

When you’ve received good service by a driver taking extra care to conceal your package, I believe you can go back to your order and leave feedback that the driver did a good job, and we always appreciate seeing those! I believe it’s a simple one click that the experience was good or not.

Becca S.

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