I Think My Package Was Stolen. What Should I Do?

Nowadays, people don’t write many letters, but they get a ton of packages, especially over the holidays. In 2017 UPS alone forecasted it would deliver more than 750 million packages worldwide between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.1

These oodles of deliveries create easy opportunities for package theft. Fortunately, you can take steps to avoid having your holiday packages swiped.

Steps to take if a package is stolen

  1. Check tracking information.
  2. Check security camera footage, if applicable.
  3. Check reimbursement policies.
  4. Make a claim with USPS, FedEx, UPS, or Amazon.
  5. Contact police, if necessary.
Package at front door
Porch pirate glitter bomb
Case Study

YouTuber Mark Rober created a glitter bomb package to lure and then glitter-ify would-be porch pirates. While we don’t recommend trying this yourself, it’s a fascinating watch.

>>Watch on YouTube

What to do when your package is stolen

Think someone stole your package? Act quickly. Check your carrier’s real-time tracking information to determine whether your package was delivered. If the package was delivered but is nowhere to be found, check directly with the seller and carrier to learn their policies for reimbursing lost items. Then make a claim with whoever will more fully compensate your loss.

You can also contact the police to report the theft. However, the police might not pursue the porch pirates, especially if there are no leads. Your chances of recovering a stolen package increase if you have security camera footage. In any case, it might be beneficial to fill out a police report, especially since it can help with package insurance claims.

If you choose to pursue carrier reimbursement, the recovery process differs depending on the carrier. Below we’ve broken down the stolen package policies from the four biggest carriers in the US.


If an expected USPS shipment has been missing for seven business days, you can file a missing mail claim. USPS will want the sender and recipient addresses, package dimensions, tracking number, and a description of the package’s contents. And if you have any pictures of what’s inside, they’d like to see those too.

If you mail anything valuable using USPS as the shipping company, it’s worth insuring the package. That way, if your shipment is determined lost, you’ll be refunded the shipping costs and the insured package. For uninsured packages, you’ll be refunded the shipping cost only.


If you have a lost or stolen package, FedEx lets either you or the seller file a claim to cover your losses. The company typically covers up to $100 of the total value of the shipment or the full amount that you insured.2


As the intended recipient of a lost or stolen UPS package, you can contact the seller. The seller can either refund you or file a claim to recoup the missing shipment with UPS. (You need the seller’s contact information if you want to go this route.) You can now also file a claim as the package recipient.


Amazon offers one of the most customer-friendly policies for dealing with lost or stolen packages. Its A-to-z Guarantee covers a refund on lost, stolen, or damaged Amazon-bought items.

The A-to-z Guarantee first requires you to contact the Amazon seller to seek a refund. If the seller is unwilling to work with you or it’s been 48 hours with no response, you can file a claim. Claims must be filed within 90 days from the purchase date.

A-to-z restrictions
Take Note

You may not be eligible for a refund under the A-to-z guarantee. The circumstances under which the package was lost, stolen, or damaged might disqualify you, depending on the details. Also, according to Amazon, “The A-to-z Guarantee does not cover digital items, payments for services, stored value instruments. Additionally, if you file a chargeback with your payment provider or bank, you will not be eligible for a refund under the A-to-z Guarantee.”3

Tips to prevent package theft

1. Work with carriers to keep packages out of plain sight

Some package carriers will coordinate with you to conceal your packages. If you can’t specify delivery instructions while checking out online, the easiest thing to do is leave a note on your door with delivery instructions. Delivery drivers will usually work with you. They might be willing to hide packages somewhere on your front porch or leave them at the side or back of your house.

Amazon Key

One way to keep your mail out of thieving hands is Amazon Key. This smart system allows you to remotely let Amazon delivery drivers into your foyer, garage, or car trunk to safely deposit your packages.

>>Learn More

2. Ship packages to a safe spot

Porch pirates are most active on weekdays when you’re at work, the kids are at school, and your boxes are left waiting for you on the porch. Shipping packages directly to your work, if possible, is a foolproof way to outsmart would-be package thieves. You can also sometimes arrange to pick packages up from the carrier yourself. Plus you might be able to use an Amazon Locker service for free.

3. Work with your neighbors

If you have trusted neighbors who usually stay home during the day, ask if they’d accept occasional deliveries that you don’t want sitting out. Ideally, you’d also offer to do something for them in return, just so you’re not imposing.

In the event of stolen packages, you can also work with neighbors to gather footage and learn whether you’re the only victim. The police are more likely to follow up on theft that happens repeatedly. Ring offers a Neighbors app that makes it easy to share footage and gather info on neighborhood package-theft epidemics.

4. Get a video doorbell

Video doorbell cameras are effective tools for monitoring your front door, porch, and yard. They have wide-angle lenses (sometimes up to 180º) so you can see the entire front of your home. The resolution is also high enough to catch license plate numbers or detailed face grabs. If that sounds like a good option for your home, take a look at our favorite video doorbells below.

Nest Hello
    Ring Pro 1080p
      Ring Video Doorbell 2

        You might be able to integrate your doorbell camera with your home security system, depending on the system brand.

        Package theft FAQ

        Who is liable for a stolen package?

        Mail liability is a tricky issue, one for which we couldn’t find a definitive source. After looking at many individuals’ experiences, though, it looks to us as if the seller’s liable for the package until it’s delivered. Once the carrier confirms delivery, the package is the recipient’s responsibility. Of course, some sellers and carriers are willing to work with you if your package is stolen.

        Does Amazon replace stolen packages?

        It depends. Most of Amazon’s items are from third-party sellers. Contact your seller first, and if you don’t receive a replacement or refund from them, you might be eligible for reimbursement directly from Amazon. See our section about Amazon’s A-to-z Guarantee for more info.

        Stolen package redux
        Our Choice

        If you’ve had a package stolen and you order a replacement, we strongly suggest you do something different when the second package is delivered. That might mean being home when the package is delivered, sending it to a family member’s home with a less exposed porch, or having it held at the post office. Changing it up will hopefully prevent the second package from being stolen too.

        How do I report a stolen Amazon package?

        If your Amazon package doesn’t show up as planned, the company recommends that you do a thorough search around your home, confirm delivery, and wait 36 hours.4 At that point, if your package is still MIA, reach out to the seller. If you don’t get a response, contact Amazon.5 Learn more in our Amazon’s A-to-z Guarantee section.
        If your Amazon package doesn’t show up, wait 36 hours before reaching out.

        Preparation is key

        The best way to not become a victim of package theft during the holidays is to prepare in advance. Communicate with your carriers to ensure your packages are delivered out of plain sight while you’re away at work. And if you don’t have an outdoor camera or video doorbell, consider getting one—they give you eyes on your porch when you can’t be there.