December 15, 2010
Christmas is just ten days away and that means its time to get your packages in the mail. But once those gifts are delivered, they're a target for thieves.
Most already know it's best not to leave gifts out in the open in your car. But your doorstep is also a vulnerable place. It's best to take precautions like insuring packages when gifts are headed out of town and when you're expecting one from another city.
During the holidays, you'll find crowds of people in the post office, taking care of regular business, sending out holiday cards and, of course, shipping Christmas gifts for those who don't live in the same zip code.
"We try to staff a little heavier on our windows, use a little bit more overtime and we don't generally have people take vacation during this time," said Todd Lee, with the United States Postal Service.
With Christmas right around the corner, postal workers are busy dropping off packages. When your mail is just sitting on your doorstep unattended, it's a prime target for thieves.
But there are ways to avoid this scenario.
"If there's a concern or if the customer has professed a concern with us they don't want the packages left, then we would leave a notice and let them pick it up at the post office," added Lee.
Lee says in the Myrtle Beach area they haven't had many complaints of missing packages. But if you want to take security measures, he recommends using other services like registered mail which requires a signature, delivery confirmation so you at least know it got there, and express mail.
Some customers like Virginia Herbert have taken the extra step so Christmas isn't spoiled for her grandkids. She insured packages she's shipped to Knoxville, TN. "I did today because it had some gift cards in it and some valuables. But normally I don't because it gets there okay," she told NewsChannel 15.
Ellen Cassidy also supports insuring packages. "I pay the extra to have it. I did that last year."
Officials also recommend you don't send a gift already wrapped up. It's best to place it in another box first, then ship it so it's not obviously a gift.
And to prevent thieves from targeting the inside of your home, experts say it's best to not have presents in plain view.