Christmas shopping online? Avoid having your parcels stolen

It's sad but true: Christmas shopping goes missing from people's doorsteps every year. Here's what you can do to protect your presents

Christmas shopping
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Are you Christmas shopping online this year? Lots of us are simply too busy to go to physical shops these days, while others prefer the ease of ordering exactly what you want at the click of a button. And many of us like taking advantage of online discounts in the December sales and Boxing Day sales. Inevitably, though, with the increase in the number of parcels ordered comes an increase in the number of parcel thefts. 

According to recent research*, parcel theft is worryingly common around Christmas, with Edinburgh emerging as the city where parcels are most likely to go missing. Oxford, Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle and Sheffield are also reported to have problems with people's Christmas shopping going missing. 

And even if you don't live in one of these cities, you've probably experienced an unexplained parcel 'disappearance', or know someone who has. So, how can we protect our Christmas shopping? While always making sure you're in to receive the delivery is the best strategy, most of us can't stay at home every time we're expecting a parcel. The following tips are the best ways to ensure yours don't go missing. 

1. Divert your parcels

Most delivery companies now have the option to divert your parcel to your local corner shop, petrol station, or self-service locker. Yes, it means needing to pop by said shop or locker after work, but your parcel is guaranteed to be safe. You can usually divert your parcel as soon as your delivery day has been set, and it's easy to do from your phone. Do bear in mind, however, that if collecting in person, you'll need ID.

2. Make friends with your neighbours

The other option for having your Christmas shopping delivered safely is having it taken in by a neighbour. This will work better, of course, if you've at least spoken to the person who'll be taking in your parcels for you. It's good to meet your neighbours anyway, but for parcel deliveries, it's good to know if you have a neighbour who works from home, for instance. 

3. Install a security camera

Thieves these days know all about smart security cameras and will avoid a property that is obviously being monitored. A smart security camera is different from a regular camera because it links up to your phone – so you can deter burglars by speaking to (ok, at that point, probably shouting at) them. 

4. Get a video doorbell

Such an easy buy and many, including our pick of the best video doorbells, the Ring smart doorbell, can be DIY installed. So if you get one now (assuming it's delivered safely...), you can get it installed this weekend.

Video doorbells don't just deter thieves, like security cameras do, you can of course speak to the delivery person immediately and ask them to stash the parcel somewhere safe for you. 

*Research conducted by Ginger Comms on behalf of ADT Fire & Security in 2019, with 1,561 respondents