Experts say ‘porch pirates' most active at Christmastime

Posted at 3:08 PM, Dec 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-16 18:43:08-05

CINCINNATI -- Experts say the holiday season is the perfect time for “porch pirates” to steal your online shopping haul -- right off your front porch. 

According to the National Retail Federation, online shopping rates are up 6.8 percent from last year, and thieves have found ways to adapt to this trend.

Sandra Guile, of the Better Business Bureau, said porch pirates have a system for stealing.

“They follow major delivery services, and they will literally steal packages right off your front porch,” Guile said.

She recommended online shoppers find a secure place to ship purchases, such as a work office or a neighbor’s house when someone will be home.

In addition to porch pirates, Guile said online shoppers should watch out for phishing scams --  fake emails that appear as if they come from a legitimate business.

"This week in particular what you're going to get is a lot of email phishing scams… you're going to order that gift, but are you on the right site,” Guile said.

She said shoppers should stick to legitimate sites to avoid identity theft and ensure they receive the proper email confirmation after they place orders.

Despite a significant rise in online shopping this year, police say the most popular crime during the holiday season is theft in vehicles.

Lt. Steve Saunders, of the Cincinnati Police Department, said if shoppers have to leave valuables in their car, they should secure them in the trunk.

"They'll look inside cars and see what's available to take, so do your part,” Saunders said.