Home deliveries are vulnerable to neighborhood predators. Online shopping has made life easier for consumers, especially during the holidays, but it’s also created more opportunities for “porch pirates,” the thieves who prey on parcels left at your door.
Many porch pirates are low tech, simply cruising neighborhoods where they know deliveries are taking place and grabbing the unattended packages.
But porch pirates who also happen to be cyber criminals can use your own technology against you, says Gary Miliefsky, CEO of SnoopWall (snoopwall.com), a company that specializes in cyber security.
“A more sophisticated porch pirate might send you an SMS message or email with malware,” Miliefsky says.
“That would let them gain access to your computer or smartphone, and they could install a RAT (Remote Access Trojan). Then they can eavesdrop on your orders and deliveries.”
They also might be able to locate you through the geolocating feature on your phone, he says. That would tell them when you are away from home, the final link in their well-laid plan.
“If they know you aren’t home and that a package is scheduled for delivery, it’s going to be easy for them to steal it,” Miliefsky says.
Miliefsky offers these tips for outwitting porch pirates:
- Get permission to ship all your packages to work. That way they aren’t left unguarded at your doorstep for hours.
- Ask a friend or neighbor who will be at home to receive your packages for you.
- If a neighbor can’t receive your packages and you can’t get them at work, another option is available. Miliefsky suggests trying Doorman, a service that lets you arrange for a package to be held at a warehouse until you arrive home. Then you can arrange delivery for evening hours that better suit you. See details at www.doorman.co.
- Disable geolocation on your smartphone so that porch pirates — or other hackers for that matter — can’t track your location.
- Set up a live recording video camera aimed at your porch. That could allow you to spot a theft as it happens and alert law enforcement.