Protect Online Deliveries Against a Rash of Charlotte Thefts
Americans have plenty of reasons to go online instead of to the mall for their holiday shopping. There are no lines, no stalking for parking spaces, and no worries about parking lot safety.
But that doesn’t mean there are no safety issues with online shopping. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is reporting a recent rash of delivery package thefts in the University area. “We should pay particular attention to this trend now as this time of year brings around a significant increase in internet-based purchases,” CMPD said in its November “On the Beat” newsletter.
That’s true in all Charlotte communities. How do you ensure you get the packages you ordered? CMPD offers several safety tips for online shoppers this holiday season:
- Arrange to have the package delivered at a time you know someone will be home.
- If you’re not going to be home, request to pick up your package at the post office, delivery service facility, or the retailer’s actual physical store location. Or you can arrange for the package to be delivered to a neighbor who will be home, or to your workplace.
- For expensive items, it’s worth purchasing insurance. Also, always obtain a tracking number for your package and require a signature upon delivery.
- Call 911 if you see suspicious activity like cars that appear to be following or “casing” delivery trucks.
- Once you have that package, don’t advertise your new gift or purchase. Cut up large cardboard boxes so that they fit inside your rolling recycling container.
Shopping safety is about more than packages, however. Online consumers also should be vigilant about protecting their personal information, the National Cyber Security Alliance warns. Be wary of sites that ask for too much personal information, such as a Social Security number or bank account number. Make sure the site is legitimate and use credit cards instead of debit cards because credit card companies have fraud protection policies and may offer refunds on purchases that go bad.
If you do venture out to the mall, CMPD reminds you not to leave items in plain sight in your car. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. (That’s easier if you’re not immersed in a cell phone conversation.) Finally, if anyone approaches your car, honk the horn. People with bad intentions don’t want attention called to them.