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USPS Warns Online Shoppers to Beware of the Grinch

Front porch shopping, as mail theft is called in these days of online shopping, is such a problem that the US Postal Service issued an advisory called “Holiday Shipping Security Tips,” asking people to report suspicious activity to local police departments and Post Offices immediately upon seeing any.

The Postal Service expects to deliver 591 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve – a 10% increase over the 537 million packages delivered during the same period last year.

In light of the problem of parcel theft, the Postal Service offered 12 Secure Shipping Tips. Here are a few of the tips (see guide for full warnings):

  • Don’t leave your mail or parcels unattended – especially overnight.
  • Be a buddy – help a neighbor in need.
  • Consider an alternate shipping address.
  • Monitor your package using the USPS real-time tracking.
  • Change your package’s delivery address if necessary – while it’s in transit.
  • Customize your delivery. (“If your package doesn’t fit in your mail box and you won’t be home to receive it, you can provide delivery instructions online and authorize your carrier to leave it in a specified location.)
  • Ship using “Hold for Pickup” to your local Post Office.
  • Consider renting a Post Office Box at your local Post Office.

The guide also asked readers to report suspicious activity immediately. “If you notice an unfamiliar vehicle following behind the USPS truck or unknown persons hovering around mailboxes, report the activity to your local police department and local Post Office immediately. The package you save may be your own.”

You can find the complete guide on the USPS blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.