What to do if your package gets stolen

FILE-A FedEx employee delivers a package in Chicago in 2020. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Having your package stolen from your doorstep is not only inconvenient, it can be frustrating and even scary.

With the holiday season here, thousands of delivered packages will be left on doorsteps and be susceptible to thefts. 

Fortunately, consumers can take these steps if they are the victims of this act. 

Track the package

Save your tracking information and shipping receipts. Provide the value of the item(s) you are missing by including an invoice or appraisal. Start your claim now. And if you are missing documentation, you can always add it later.  

Document what happened

Be sure to save your tracking info and shipping receipts. And be ready to prove the value of the item(s) you are missing (with an invoice or appraisal). FedEx urges customers to start a claim immediately, and add more documentation later.

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File a police report

Filing a police report is helpful if you experience package theft. FOX Business notes that filing instructions vary by police departments. Many local precincts have clear instructions online for how to file, which can help with getting restitution.

File a claim with the shipping company

You can file a claim for a stolen package with FedEx and UPS. To file a claim with FedEx or U.S. packages, you must file no later than 60 calendar days from the shipment date. For international packages, it's 21 calendar days. Consumers can also file a claim with Amazon, and the online retailer will issue a refund

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Reach out to the retailer

If your package has been lost or stolen, contact the retailer, and tell them what happened. Every retailer has its own policy on lost packages or stolen items, but most will at least send out a replacement for what was taken or even offer a refund.

Contact your homeowners or renters insurance company 

Package theft is covered under personal property coverage. Most homeowners insurance and renters insurance policies will have limits for jewelry, high-end electronics, and even cash. It's advisable to check these limits before you have items of this type delivered. When I ordered my new iPhone, I didn't take the chance it could be lost or stolen: I elected to have it delivered to the store and pick it up myself.

Use the purchase protection feature on your credit card

According to Lending Tree, purchase protection is a credit card benefit that allows consumers to file a claim with the retailer to receive replacement, repair or reimbursement for any eligible stolen or damaged items. 

Credit card companies, including Mastercard and Visa, have different policies for purchase protection. Consumers should also understand the card-issuers policy to ensure their items are protected if there’s an incident. Most claims for purchase protection can be filed online or by phone. 

What can I do to protect my package from being stolen?

If you are awaiting a package, there are steps to take to protect it from being stolen.

1) Get your package insured-If you buy a high-priced item, it is good to invest a few more dollars in paying for insurance, either through a vendor or via the postal service delivering the package.

2) Install a security camera-There are cheap home security cameras that are easy to install around your home. Most devices, like Ring, can sync with your wifi and even a phone app, and you can check in on packages left throughout the day.

3) Use a package locker or bag-This gives the delivery person a place to leave the package in a secure space — and thieves won't be able to access it, FOX Business reported.

4) Work together with your neighbors-FOX Business noted that finding someone in your neighborhood or building during the day who is available and willing to accept the package on your behalf. 

5) Redirect your package to a nearby retail location-According to FedEx, consumers can redirect their package to a nearby location, leave delivery instructions for their driver, or put a temporary hold on their packages.

Package theft is a rising problem for consumers, with one study by Security.org finding that 49 million Americans had at least one package stolen in the last 12 months as of 2022. 

The median value for stolen merchandise was $50 based on incident rates and average loss, and amounted to $2.4 billion in stolen goods last year, FOX Business reported.

FOX Business contributed to this report. This story was reported from Washington, D.C.