Solved! Here’s What to Do if Your Amazon Package Is Stolen
How can you recoup your losses if an Amazon package is missing from your step?
Q: I got a notification that my Amazon package had been delivered, but when I got home it wasn’t on my step. The contents were not inexpensive. What can I do?
A: Few things are more infuriating than anxiously awaiting a package delivery, only to arrive home and not find it on your doorstep, leaving you wondering, “Where is my Amazon package?” Whether it’s a monthly delivery of regularly used grocery items or a fantastic bargain that allowed you to buy something you normally couldn’t afford, a missing package can cause a mixture of anger and anxiety. In some cases, the package has simply been picked up by a neighbor hoping to help you out. But in others, someone has decided to help themselves to your property. The next step is to figure out how to track a package on Amazon so you can check the delivery status to find more information than your delivery notification gave you. One of the difficulties in the age of having everything delivered is that there’s no obvious course of action—it’s not like when you buy something at a store and have a customer service desk where you can complain in person. But there are good first steps to take to make sure the package is really missing, and if it is, a few different approaches to ensure a refund or replacement of your lost Amazon package.
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Ask your neighbors if they held on to it for you or if they saw someone pick it up.
Before you panic, check with the people who live next door. It’s possible that a well-meaning neighbor saw the package, feared it would be stolen, and brought it inside their own home with the intention of returning it when you arrived home. You may have already made an arrangement with a specific neighbor to keep an eye on each other’s package deliveries, but if not, knocking on the doors of friendly neighbors to ask if they brought in your package is a good first step. If they didn’t pick it up, they may have noticed another neighbor bringing it in—or they may be able to describe someone else picking it up and walking away with it.
You can also ask your neighbors if they have security cameras or doorbell cameras that may have recorded the package being delivered and being removed (don’t forget to check your own, if you have one). Whether it’s a thief or a helpful neighbor securing your package, they may be visible on the doorbell camera from next door or across the street.
Your package may have been delivered to the wrong home. While not ideal, it happens from time to time due to human error. If you are a member of a local social media neighborhood group, you can consider posting the delivery confirmation photo, if there was one, asking if anyone nearby has received a package, or if they recognize the doorstep in the photo. Sometimes it’s faster to do this and have a neighbor reply, “Yes, this is my step! Swing by and pick it up!” than it is to go through the official route.
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Contact the delivery carrier and inquire about the package location.
Ideally, you’ll want to sign up for notifications to track Amazon packages as they make their way to your house so you’ll know when to expect them: Amazon now allows you to track some packages through each stop of the delivery truck! You can find out how to track Amazon packages on the Amazon Customer Service page. If you can’t pick it up right away or ask a neighbor to do so, this will help you pinpoint exactly when the delivery occurred. If your delivery alert came with a picture of your package on a step, scrutinize it carefully. Are you sure it’s actually your step? If not, check around on similar-looking porches, but from a distance—you don’t want anyone to think that you are the thief!
If you don’t see it, or the photo does not look like your home, you’ll need to call the delivery carrier, which should be identified in your delivery confirmation. Amazon provides contact information on their Customer Service page. You’ll need the tracking number associated with your package, which should also be in the delivery confirmation, but if it is not, you can check the shipping confirmation email or the order status in your Amazon account. The carrier should be able to track the location of the delivery vehicle at the time the package was delivered. It’s possible the driver was off by a street or misread the label and was on a street with a similar name. In that case, the carrier should be able to retrieve the package and redeliver it to you. In other cases, there may have been a problem with the box or label, or there was some other reason the package couldn’t be delivered. In that event, the box may be with other unclaimed Amazon packages and returned to the shipping location. Amazon will have a record of that after a few days.
Contact the seller to ask about replacement or a refund.
If the package is gone, damaged, or open when it eventually gets to you, you’ll need to contact the seller. Amazon customer service asks that you wait until 48 hours have passed after the delivery notification to allow for the possibility that the notification was accidentally sent early or that a carrier was interrupted while delivering. In that case, you’ll get an updated delivery notification that says “Amazon package not delivered,” with instructions about what to do next. If you have a photo of the package on your doorstep, they may take your call sooner. They will ask you for some details—you may need to verify that you contacted the carrier, and once they are certain the package did not arrive, they will likely issue a refund or a replacement shipment. For larger or more expensive purchases, they may require a copy of a police report.
Report the theft to the authorities.
There may not be very much the police can do for you in terms of getting your Amazon box back. Package thieves are quick and practiced and can almost literally disappear in moments. What the authorities can do is create a police report, which may help you get a refund or replacement shipping. They can check with local homes or businesses in the area to see if camera footage is available, and they can notify neighbors that a package thief is active in your area. Your report may help others avoid experiencing the same frustration and ultimately help catch the perpetrators by providing a link in a pattern of thefts.
Contact your bank.
Your credit card may offer purchase protection services that will refund the cost of a stolen purchase. Give them a call and talk to a representative about what services your card provides and learn how to activate them. As with sellers, the bank may require a theft report from the police, so plan to get a copy of that report to provide to your bank.
If your package has been stolen by a particularly crafty thief rather than an opportunist who saw a chance to grab a box, you may have concerns about your address being used for credit theft or other identity theft crimes. It’s a good plan to let the bank, and potentially the credit bureaus, know you’ve experienced mail theft and potentially put a hold on your credit to prevent any new accounts from being opened.
Invest in ways of preventing porch pirates, such as a home security system.
Visible security measures, such as doorbell cameras, security cameras, or indications that a security system is in place will often scare package thieves off before they even try. Their goal is to be quick and unobserved, so even the threat of being on-camera may help them decide to move on.
If you have a doorbell camera enabled, you’ll get an alert on your mobile app before the thief makes it to your door, and you’ll have the time to shout, yell, or just quietly ask the person to leave—and to leave the package alone because they’re being recorded on video. Generally this kind of thief is not looking for interaction; they want to grab and go. Speaking to them through the doorbell camera can potentially save your package from theft.
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One of the best home security systems will also protect your home from any additional ideas a thief might get once they’re on your porch; if a thief sees through your window that you have a great gaming computer setup in the dining room, they may decide to come back later and see if they can get in.
A monitored security system can protect your home with automatic notification of police or first responders at the first sign of a break-in, and a self-monitored system will notify you of a problem.
Thieves are getting bolder and walking right up to the front door to casually collect packages that aren’t theirs, then calmly walking away. These steps will help you get recompensed for your loss or request replacement, but you’ll still feel angry and upset that your property was taken. The ideal time to put preventive measures in place is before something happens, but if you missed that opportunity, you can button up your security now to prevent further losses.