NORTH READING — With the holiday shopping season officially here, Chief Michael Murphy and the North Reading Police Department wish to remind residents of several precautions they can take when ordering items online to help prevent their gifts from falling into the wrong hands.
“As online shopping continues to grow, unfortunately so too does package theft,” Chief Murphy said. “There are many small steps residents can take to help reduce these crimes and we hope the following tips are helpful to them.”
Tips to Prevent Holiday Package Theft:
To best ensure that your packages are not taken after they are delivered, North Reading Police recommends the following tips:
- Request notifications on your deliveries, via phone or email, to monitor your packages in transit and upon delivery. FedEx and UPS offer services to assist customers during the holidays.
- Always require a signature on your deliveries to ensure packages are never left unattended.
- Consider sending deliveries to an alternate location where someone will be able to receive them – whether that be a workplace, a neighbor or friend’s house, or a FedEx or UPS location.
- Schedule your delivery for a specific date and time that you’re expected to be home.
- Set up a vacation hold if you plan on traveling during the holidays so gifts won’t be left on the doorstep.
- Be aware of “tailgating,” which refers to people who follow delivery vehicles and steal packages after they are dropped off.
- If you find your package has been stolen, immediately report it to North Reading Police.
- Never accept a surprise delivery where a payment is required, and never give out personal information when receiving a delivery that you purchased as it may be a scam.
Additionally, any suspicious people or vehicles should immediately be reported to the North Reading Police Department at 978-664-3131.
Additional Holiday Shopping Safety Tips:
Chief Murphy would also like to offer tips to holiday shoppers on how to avoid any incidents or theft while shopping in stores and online:
- As more people are on the road during the holiday season, be sure to drive carefully. Be patient when looking for a parking space. Don’t speed up in a parking lot to catch an empty spot. Look for other cars or people when backing out of a parking space, and back out slowly.
- Keep shopping bags out of plain sight in your vehicle, preferably in your trunk.
- Keep your purse close to your body or your wallet in an inside coat pocket or front pants pocket.
- Save your receipts and monitor your credit card activity.
- When shopping online, stick to retailers you know or have shopped with before.
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi to make purchases in order to prevent hackers from intercepting your information.
The men and women of the North Reading Police Department wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season!