It’s the holiday season, which means you’re most likely doing more shopping than usual. Given the convenience of online shopping–not to mention avoiding the hassle of the in-store holiday rush–you may opt to have gifts delivered to your door. While this certainly is convenient, it can also be risky.

In-Person Risk

The most obvious risk is having your packages stolen off your front porch. A lot of people will take advantage of an unattended package–especially during the holidays.


In order to avoid such a situation, you have some options:

  1. Invest in a doorbell camera: Lots of smart home companies now offer this feature, whether that be the Nest Hello video doorbell or the Vivint Doorbell Camera. These devices can allow you to see who’s at your door when the doorbell rings and provide further instructions to mail couriers.
  2. Pickup at a secure location: If you’re purchasing from Amazon, you can opt to have your delivery sent to an Amazon locker, a “secure, self-service kiosk where you can pick up your Amazon packages when it’s convenient for you”. If you’re shopping at another store that offers various mailing options, you can choose to have your purchases delivered to the nearest post office, DHL, or similar service.

Digital Risk

Having packages stolen off your front porch isn’t the only way you can be scammed, however. A lot of cybercriminals will use digital means to phish for your personal information.

Here’s how it works according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB):

You receive a call or an email from someone claiming to be your mail carrier or a parcel delivery service saying that they were unable to deliver a package to your home. If you don’t remember ordering anything that needs to be delivered, the caller may try to convince you the package is a gift from a friend or relative. The caller may sound friendly and professional, making the scam harder to spot. The email messages also look legitimate – containing official logos and using professional language.

So how are you supposed to know it’s a scam? If the caller or email asks for you to verify personal information, give them your credit card number, or click on a tracking link, know that these are huge red flags.