The holidays are one of the busiest shopping times of the year. And that means thousands of deliveries are made daily. It also means there is more of an opportunity for the “porch pirates” to snatch those gifts. The Montgomery County Police Department just released some tips on how to keep your packages safe.

Porch Pirates Stealing Packages

Choose a Smart Delivery Address

Something many people don’t consider are the number of choices they have for a delivery address. You don’t always have to have a package sent to your house. Instead, have it sent to a location you know will be attended. That could be your work place, a neighbor’s house who stays home during the day, or a P.O. box.

Have the Package Delivered to Carrier Location

Many shipping companies offer the choice of holding a package for you. Simply find out which shipping service a retailer uses, and have the package sent to the shipping location nearest you. Most carriers will hold the package for you for up to five days.

In-Store Pick Up

Most retailers offer in-store pick up for online sales. Places like Wal-Mart have online order pick up centers in most locations where you just go, show ID, and they will give you your package. This option also usually negates the shipping charge, so you save money!

Know When the Package Will be Delivered

Shipping companies offer the option to sign up for shipping notifications. Just enter the tracking number into their website and there will be an option labelled “Sign up for Notifications.” You usually have the option of text or email notifications. Keep an eye on these and once you see that the package has been delivered, go grab it real quick. Or send a trusted friend/neighbor out to put it inside for you.

Some shipping companies also allow customers to re-route shipments if you are unable to be home for the delivery. You can get it sent to a new location, or just have it sent back to the shipping facility for pick up.

Require a Signature

If you or a neighbor are home during the day, this is ultimately the safest option. In order for the shipping company to deliver a package, they must receive a signature from someone in the house. If not, they will take the package back and leave a note saying they came but no one was home to sign for it. They will try again the next day, or you can go pick the package up from the nearest location.