With more and more holiday shoppers bypassing Black Friday for Cyber Monday deals online, more and more thieves lay in wait for packages to be delivered and, in some cases, follow package delivery trucks along their routes.
As a result, officials with both the United States Postal Inspection Service and UPS were warning their drivers and customers this Cyber Monday to be more vigilant about reporting suspected thieves and people seen “loitering around delivery trucks.”
“It takes just a minute for people following UPS trucks to steal packages,” Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station told The Signal Monday when Cyber Monday deal shopping was in full swing.
When pressed further about thieves following delivery trucks, Miller said: “I have heard of it happening here. It is a common thing, nationwide.
“Unattended mail trucks are a target,” she said. “We are asking anyone who sees someone suspicious near a mail truck to call us.”
Reminiscent of pirate ships following ships loaded with goods and traveling along regular routes, package thieves follow delivery trucks.
US POSTAL SERVICE
“It does happen,” Stacy Crane, spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement arm of the US Postal Service, told The Signal on Cyber Monday.
“It is something we are looking into,” she said.
“We tell our employees to watch out for anyone suspicious, who might be following them. But, we’re also telling our customers to ‘Watch out for your carrier.’
“If they see anyone loitering around the vehicle, please call the police,” Crane said.
UPS corporate officials in Atlanta, told The Signal on Monday they are aware of package thefts.
UPS spokeswoman Kim Krebs said: “The “vast majority of the 750 million packages UPS will ship during this holiday season will be successfully delivered.
“UPS technologies and programs help keep packages from unintended hands,” she said. “Media attention to these rare occurrences has increased due to expanded use of video surveillance technology available to consumers.
“UPS delivers about 19 million packages every day and our data indicate that the rate of incidents involving UPS has been relatively flat over the last few years.
“If a package is stolen,” Krebs said. “The customer should contact the shipper and file a police report.”
Asked specifically about thieves following UPS trucks with the intention of stealing delivered packages, Krebs offered alternatives for concerned customers.
- Have the shipment sent to where they are – not where they aren’t. In other words, if they are at work during the day they can have packages delivered to where they work. They can also choose to have things sent to a relative or neighbor who is home during the day.
- They can tell our driver where they would like UPS packages left, for example, in the shed in the back yard, or behind the garage, etc. UPS drivers can enter that information into their handheld computers for future deliveries.
- Consumers can sign up for the free UPS My Choice® service that gives consumers more control over their residential deliveries. UPS My Choice sends a text message or email when their packages are on the way. With the UPS My Choice mobile app, package recipients can redirect their packages to nearby UPS Access Point locations for pick-up at a more convenient time.
- UPS Access Point locations are convenient retailers such as delis, grocery stores, dry cleaners, florists and The UPS Store locations with evening and weekend hours. Nearly 9,000 UPS Access Point locations throughout the U.S. provide about 78 percent of U.S. consumers an alternative to home delivery that’s within five miles of their residence.
- People can also consider using mailbox services at their local The UPS Store. These centers can serve as a “mailroom receiving agent” and offer a real street address, secure 24-hour access – at participating locations – and email or text notification when you have a package waiting. Unlike the Post Office, The UPS Store can accept packages from all carriers.
This past weekend, Miller posted warnings on the SCV Sheriff’s Station’s social media sites about online shopping and package receiving.
“Even if you’re home, keep a watchful eye out for the delivery so that you can bring it inside.’’
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt