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November 28, 2016

John Vomhof Jr.Staff Writer

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Half of Americans plan to shop online this holiday season, which means millions of packages will be arriving on doorsteps across the country between today’s busy Cyber Monday and the end of the year.

But security experts are already warning that deliveries might be vulnerable to thieves who, like the Grinch, can steal the joy of giving by cleverly picking off your packages.

We chatted with Andy Tibbs, a delivery expert from UPS, and Pedro Melendez, a smart home security consultant for Best Buy, to get some tips for helping keep your packages safe this holiday shopping season.

Just how many packages will UPS ship this holiday season?

Andy: Between now and New Year’s Eve, UPS will deliver more than 700 million packages. The busiest time will be the Monday through Friday before Christmas (Dec. 19-23), when we’ll average more than 30 million packages a day.

We’ve heard about packages being stolen. What’s the best way to ensure that doesn’t happen?

Andy: UPS has developed technology that allows you, as the consumer, to take control of deliveries, determining when and where your packages are delivered. That starts with an application called UPS My Choice. It’s a free service that gives you text and email updates on the status of your deliveries and enables you to reroute your packages to another delivery destination, such as to a neighbor or a UPS Access Point location near your home.

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Pedro: And, at Best Buy, you can always opt for Store Pickup, which allows you to buy items online and pick them up at whichever store is most convenient for you.

What about smart home products? Can consumers use those to help protect their packages?

Pedro: Yes, Best Buy has some great smart home security solutions to help you monitor and control what’s happening outside your front door, even when you’re not home. A Ring video doorbell, for example, shows you who’s at your front door and allows you to interact with visitors and receive alerts through your smartphone. Arlo wireless security cameras let you see virtually every angle of your front entry, and they’ll even send you a notification when motion is detected.

Then, with an August smart lock or Chamberlain MyQ garage door opener, you can lock and unlock your doors remotely. So you can call your neighbor and say, “Hey, can you swing over and put my packages in the house to make sure they’re safe?”

Are those devices easy to install or do you need a professional to install them?

Pedro: They’re really simple to set up, so any home owner can realistically do it. But if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, swing into your local Best Buy. We can have Geek Squad come out and set it up for you.

Go to UPS.com for additional holiday tips and to register for UPS My Choice. And visit BestBuy.com to check out all of our Cyber Monday deals, including offers on some of the latest smart home products.

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