Smart Home

This is the best way to prevent your holiday packages from getting stolen

Keep those pesky porch pirates away from your Amazon haul.

How smart doorbells can protect against holiday package theft Credit: Getty / TriggerPhoto / Ring

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The holiday shopping season is in full swing, but before you checkout on your next order, there are a few steps you should take to keep your packages safe.

You've probably heard the term "porch pirates" before—they steal packages from your doorstep before you ever get home. And since 56% of consumers plan to shop online this year, that's a lot of opportunity for theft.

Thankfully, you can help safeguard your packages by using a smart doorbell. So, before you start ordering away (and even if you’ve already started shopping for the perfect gifts), here are seven ways that using a smart doorbell can keep your packages safe during the holiday season.

1. See live video of your porch when you’re away from home

Live stream
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

A smart doorbell like the Google Nest Hello allows you to see who is at your door.

No outdoor security camera? No problem. Most smart doorbells these days are equipped to display a live video feed of your front porch (or wherever you have the doorbell set up). As long as you have the doorbell’s app installed on your smartphone, you should be able to keep a watchful eye on your outdoor entryway, where packages are typically left.

Make sure to have the latest version of the app on your phone to ensure that everything is functioning properly. (One way to avoid any issues is to turn on automatic app updates in the settings folder of your phone.) As long as the doorbell is connected to WiFi, you can check in on your packages from anywhere.

2. Set up notifications so you know when someone is at your door

notifications for packages
Credit: Getty / stevecoleimages / damircudic

Most smart doorbells send alerts to your smartphone so you can keep an eye on who is coming and going.

Being able to see what’s happening at your doorstep when you’re not home can help keep porch pirates at bay. However, you probably won’t always be watching the live feed. That’s where notifications come in handy. These alerts are sent directly to your phone when the doorbell detects motion or if someone rings the doorbell. Whenever you get a notification, open your smart doorbell app to see what’s going on.

3. Designate motion zones so you don’t get any false alerts

notifications
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jackson Ruckar / Getty / Chainarong Prasertthai

Certain smart doorbells, like the Ring Video Doorbell 2 (left), let you pick and choose the camera's motion zones.

Smart video doorbells like our favorite, the Ring Video Doorbell 2, let you customize motion zones. This is helpful, especially if you have a flag hanging in the view of your doorbell or a tree that tends to set off motion alerts every time the wind blows. By controlling the motion zones, you can avoid meaningless notifications.

4. Set up a cloud storage plan so you can review the doorbell’s video feed

cloud storage plan
Credit: Getty / monkeybusinessimages / Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

The Skybell Trim Plus smart doorbell (right) offers free cloud recording with no monthly fees, but some other smart doorbells make you pay for storage.

Most smart doorbell companies offer a complimentary or paid cloud subscription of some kind so you can review footage captured by your doorbell. While not all doorbells require storage plans, it’s important to make sure your account is in good standing. Why? Well, in case a package goes missing and you need to be able to pull up previously recorded footage to see when—and how—your packaged disappeared. Outdoor smart security cameras can also help be your eyes and ears when you’re not home.

5. Integrate your smart doorbell with your existing smart speaker so you can get extra notifications

smart speaker integration
Credit: Amazon / Getty / David Sacks

You can sync your smart doorbell with smart speakers like Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant.

Many smart doorbells work with smart assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit. If you’re at home but away from your phone, these speakers can alert you when someone rings your doorbell or if motion is detected at your door. It’s one more added step of protection for your packages.

6. Use two-way audio on your smart doorbell so you can scare off intruders with your voice

two way audio
Credit: Remo / Getty / no_limit_pictures

Not home? That's OK. You can talk to the person at your front door via the doorbell's app on your smartphone.

If you notice someone at your door who shouldn’t be, startle them off with the sound of your voice. Smart video doorbells like the Skybell Trim Plus and Eufy Video Doorbell offer two-way audio, so you can talk to whoever is at your front door using your smartphone.

7. Display surveillance stickers from doorbell company so they know you’re watching

yard signs
Credit: Getty / no_limit_pictures / Amazon

You can purchase security yard signs and stickers from certain smart doorbell companies to display in windows and in your front yard.

Certain home security systems come with yard signs to let potential thieves know they’re being recorded. You’ve likely seen these in a neighbor’s yard before, but did you know smart home companies sell them, too? It’s one extra step you can take to protect your packages not just during the holiday season, but all year long.

This Ring doorbell yard sign and sticker pack is an affordable way to let prospective porch pirates know you’re watching. If you have a Nest Hello doorbell, the Nest Security Yard Sign adds an extra layer of protection for your home—and holiday deliveries.

So, as you’re shopping online for the best gifts, rest assured that your smart doorbell can help keep your holiday presents safe.

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