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Smart Buying

Protect Your Online Purchases

Utilize free ship-to-store services or retail lockers to thwart porch pirates.

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Packages are stolen from porches and doorways year-round, but thieves are particularly busy during the holiday season, when there are more items to steal. Take the following steps to protect your purchases:

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Ship to a store. Some retailers let you send online purchases to one of their stores for pickup. The service is usually free.

Send to a locker. UPS, FedEx and Amazon all operate locations where packages can be delivered. Amazon provides lockers in Whole Foods Markets and convenience stores. When you place your order, search for your nearest locker, add it to your address book and select it for deliveries.

For items shipped via UPS or FedEx, you’ll need to register for a free UPS MyChoice or FedEx Delivery Manager account. You can ask to have your purchases delivered to one of their participating retailers. UPS doesn’t charge for the service, but FedEx may charge up to $15 to deliver to a different address.

If a package is declared lost or undelivered by any carrier, your best bet is to contact both the carrier and the merchant to figure out who’s responsible for your refund. Some merchants may refund your purchase.