Experts warn porch pirates active this holiday season; Raleigh woman ripped off in middle of day

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Online holiday shopping is in full swing, and the Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina warns that packages make great targets for porch pirates.

The warning is something a Raleigh woman experienced just this week.

When Melissa Hinkel came home Tuesday evening, she went to look for her package that was delivered in the afternoon. The only problem was the package wasn’t there.

Hinkel checked the video from her security cameras and saw a boy walking down the steps to her house, rounding the corner with her package, and running away with another teen.

“I’m not getting, you know, computers, and fancy equipment, I’m getting some clothes for myself so I could have something to wear to work,” Hinkel said.

It happened around 3:15 p.m., close to when Hinkel said the package was delivered. She ordered a shirt and pants.

“I’m an IA at elementary school, I don’t make a lot of money, you know, every package that comes to me is my hard-earned money,” Hinkel said. “I have the right to have packages delivered to my front door without them being taken away.”

She filed a report with the Raleigh police department.

Alyssa Parker, director of communications at BBB serving Eastern North Carolina, is warning consumers to stay on top of their deliveries.

“Unfortunately, we do expect there to be an increase in porch pirates,” Parker said. “We’ve already seen an influx of calls compared to the previous years that we’ve had.”

The BBB has these prevention tips:

  • Track your package
  • Be available for, or schedule, delivery
  • Insure valuable items
  • Request a signature (could come with a fee)
  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card

Parker said if a package does get stolen you should call the retailer and your credit card company.

“We see more success with credit card companies — they’ll often times credit you that because it was out of your control,” Parker said.

Hinkel lost $40, and gained a great deal of concern, that gifts for her family could be stolen also.

“If people who decide to take packages can get away with one package, then they might be able to get away with other packages,” Hinkel said.

When it’s time to throw out packages, Parker said to make sure you remove the receipt from the empty box and rip it up. She said some thieves look for receipts in dumpsters to try and steal credit card and account information.

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