Notification services can let you know about deliveries to stem package pirates

WASHINGTON — Few things suck the holiday spirit out of this time of year faster than a stolen package or check you were expecting in the mail.

New technology can help stem porch piracy, but as is always the case, crooks have figured out ways to exploit the safeguards.

The U.S. Postal Service’s Informed Delivery enables customers who sign up to receive an email each morning containing scanned images of letters and packages that are scheduled to be delivered that day.

Security experts say criminals can take advantage of homeowners who don’t sign up for Informed Delivery.

A crook can use your name and address, but sign up with his email. So, he gets a heads-up on what will be put in your mailbox and dropped at your door.

The USPS is aware of the scam, and criminals who set up a fraudulent account are guilty of a crime. To safeguard against the scam, homeowners can either sign up for the service, or opt-out with the postal service.

To request that no Informed Delivery accounts be allowed for an address, the homeowner can call USPS Technical Support, at 1-800-344-7779.

Most package delivery service, including Amazon, FedEx, and UPS, have notification systems, which can alert consumers who sign up for the service, to be notified when a package is delivered.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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