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SAFETY ALERT: Authorities warn of porch pirates as online shopping hits record numbers

(IMG: WPMI) SAFETY ALERT: Authorities warn of porch pirates as online shopping hits record numbers

As online shopping hits record numbers, authorities are warning of a possible increase in porch pirates targeting home deliveries.

Online shopping deliveries may come with the convenience of avoiding the store crowds, but they can often lead to an easy score for would-be thieves.

It may be the season of giving, but it's also prime time for those more interested in taking.

Authorities say porch pirates can often snag vulnerable items from doorsteps in just seconds.

Online shoppers in Baldwin County know they're not immune to the issue.

Elsanor resident Lynn Singler said she had a close call during her last online delivery.

"I have had a problem with a neighbor trying to take a package from my gate, so it does happen," said Singler.

Singler said that experience led her to take no chances with her purchases.

"Signing up for text or emails to get alerts when you get your package is a really good idea," Singler said.

Last year about this time, there were 33 million deliveries from purchases on Cyber Monday. In 2018, it's expected to be even higher.

That means more irresistible opportunities for thieves.

Frances Devine, a Loxley resident, routinely shops online.

"They don't care, people don't care, if they see it, they're going to take it," Devine said.

Devine said she installed a security system on her home to capture or deter any thief in action.

"I track all my packages so they come to my phone whether I'm home or not. So I do recommend that, if you don't have a security system," said Devine.

Other tips from authorities include joining a neighborhood watch, smart home technology, or even having your packages delivered to a neighbor.

You can also eliminate the porch altogether by having items delivered to the Post Office.

A final option is to have deliveries sent to a self service locker at a secured location. That option is offered by Amazon, Fed Ex and UPS.

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