Combat porch pirates with your smartphone

According to the National Retail Federation, over 135 million people are expected to shop online and with it comes the boxes and bags to ones’ door. Unfortunately, the Valley has seen a rise in thieves referred to as “Porch Pirates” who follow delivery trucks around and swipe your gifts without your knowledge.
According to a report by Reuters “Some 23 million people said they have had packages stolen from their homes before they could open them, according to a new survey from, a division of Bankrate Inc.”
Delivery companies are attempting to improve their communication with customers by offering alerts when packages are delivered via text or email, and homeowners are adding technology to their doorstep to protect their precious packages.
Watch our segment on NBC 12 News to discover all the ways to use your smartphone to combat the thieves this season and beyond.


For your old standards, the FedEx and UPS app allow users to sign up for text messaging and email alerts, track their deliveries (sometimes up to 5 numbers), reroute a delivery, and sign for a package.
For Amazon, same options apply for tracking via text or email, but users have to opt in through the notification preferences under your profile. Another option for Amazon is to use the “locker” option and go pick it up; Amazon will send customers the lock code. 
Most likely you’ll have more than one delivery service helping bring you packages, it might be time to use a package tracking aggregator.

Slice app via iTunes
Slice app via iTunes

Slice. This app tracks packages through your email. It offers location and display updates on a map and status of the delivery. This app also offers shopping assistance, watches for price drops on an item and keeps your receipt. It works with multiple services including: UPS, USPS, FedEx and DHL. It’s even Apple Watch compatible. Free and premium services available.
Parcel app via iTunes
Parcel app via iTunes

Parcel. This app can access tracking information for 265 delivery services, including USPS, OnTrac, FedEx, TNT. It will track three packages for free, then users need to move to the premium service for $1.99. It’s also Apple Watch compatible.
To keep an extra eagle eye on your property and your porch, homeowners are installing web cameras or a smart doorbell and watch all the delivery drops on their smartphone.
Web camera. These products range from $75 to over $200 placing a web camera inside and outside of your home can add another layer of protection and if someone does snag your package, you can get them on camera with a cloud recording service.
ring doorbell-2
Courtesy of Ring

Ring.  This smart doorbell lets you answer the door from anywhere using your smartphone. It features an HD camera with night vision, providing a clear view from your front door, day and night. $200
Want more gadgets to protect your home and family, head over to our Gadgets for the Guru section at AZ Tech Beat.