During holiday season many people have packages delivered to their front porches while they are at work. Sometimes, however, packages that a carrier claims to have delivered are nowhere to be found - often the result of "porch pirates" who, sadly, are especially active during this time of year.

So, what should you do if a package seems to have been stolen from your porch?

Here are some steps to take: 

Check The Tracking Information

While often the tracking information for a missing shipment will just say "delivered," sometimes it will provide more information - for example, "delivered to back porch" - that may help you locate your lost item. It may even show that a neighbor signed for the package in your absence - letting you know from whom to pick it up.

Look For The Missing Package

Sometimes packages fall off porches, sometimes they are erroneously or intentionally delivered to a neighbor, and sometimes they are placed on a back porch, on a carport, or elsewhere near your home. I have even heard of delivery people leaving a box under a barbecue to protect the shipment's contents from rain.

Contact The Seller

If you cannot find the package, contact the seller - or, if the item was a gift, have the sender contact the seller. Sometimes the seller has more information about the shipment than you are able to view online, and, if not, he/she/it may offer you a refund or replacement.

Contact the Carrier

All major delivery companies have customer service departments armed with well-documented processes and procedures to deal with missing packages. The carrier may be able to track down the missing shipment, it may offer to help you file an insurance claim, or it may direct you as to how to file a police report. Remember, while this might be your first time dealing with a potentially stolen package, it certainly is not the carrier's.

Dispute Charges

If you cannot get the package, a replacement, or a refund via the seller or carrier, contact the credit card company on whose card you paid for the purchase, and dispute the charges. If the item was a gift ask the sender to do so. (If you are still purchasing items for delivery via debit card or wire transfer, please see my article 11 Tips To Help Keep You Cyber-Safe When Shopping Online for reasons to switch to credit cards.).

Good Luck, and Happy Holidays!