If you're planning on sending or receiving packages this holiday season, the United States Postal Inspection Service has offered some tips to help keep them safe.

People love shopping from the couch.  Why wouldn't you?  You literally sit on your phone and order whatever you need from just about any store you want.  It doesn't matter if it's a big box store or a local small business, almost everyone has an option to buy online.

But that means you're going to get packages sitting on your front step if you aren't there to claim them when they get delivered.  So how do you keep them safe in the age of what they call "porch pirates" or people who like to come to your front step and take those packages that just got dropped there?  The United States Postal Inspection Service has some tips for this holiday season:

1.  Don't leave packages unattended if you don't have to - Just like you shouldn't leave your wallet or your purse in your car, you shouldn't leave packages on your front step for thieves to see.

2.  Hold your mail at the post office if you will be gone for a couple days - You can sign up for this service on USPS.com.  This way they can hold packages and letters safely at the post office.

3.  Use The "Hold For Pickup" option at USPS.com - This is an option when choosing your shipping method at USPS.com.  This way you can pick which packages are held for you instead of choosing all of them.

4. Customize the delivery. You can have your carrier leave the package in a spot that a thief will be less likely to see it.  Visit usps.com, enter the tracking number in Track a Package, and select Delivery Instructions.

5.  Secure the shipment using USPS Special Services. Signature Confirmation helps ensure the package ends up in the right hands by requiring a first initial and last name at the time of delivery. For your most valuable packages, you can opt for Registered Mail service. Registered Mail receives special handling from the time it’s mailed until the time it’s delivered.

6. Monitor your front door. Got a ring doorbell or something similar?  Keep an eye on your front door if you know you're getting a package.  If you catch any mail thieves in the act, save the video and contact the Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455.

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