[Reading time - 2 minute 23 seconds]
The holiday season is upon us (Yikes!). According to eMarketer total US holiday retail sales will increase 3.8 percent this year compared to a 2.4 percent increase in 2018. That means for the first time ever holiday sales in the US will pass the trillion-dollar mark ($1.008 trillion). Cyber Monday (Dec 2) is once again expected to be the biggest online shopping day in US history, with sales over $10 billion. Sales at traditional brick-and-mortar stores will increase 2.5 percent ($872 billion) and still make up 86 percent of all holiday sales. Ecommerce sales during the 2019 holiday season will increase 13.2 percent to $135 billion, and that makes up 13 percent of holiday spending. What's interesting about ecommerce sales is how many of those are conducted by consumers while using a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet. These so-called "mcommerce" sales are almost half (47.5 percent) of all ecommerce sales and are 6.4 percent of the total holiday retail sales. Mcommerce sales will grow by 25 percent this year.
Those numbers are particularly amazing considering there is a shortened calendar between Thanksgiving and Christmas for 2019 due to Thanksgiving falling later on the calendar. This year has six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas than in 2018.
That's a whole lot of money changing hands over the next few weeks. And who wants to get their hands on some of that money? Of course, the cyber attackers will be zeroed in on grabbing as much as they can.
What can we do to protect ourselves?
While there are several things that consumers should do, today one of the most important steps is to protect those packages that are delivered to our door from the online ecommerce sites. An estimated 23 million Americans have had a package stolen from their front door or mailbox from the "Porch Pirates." These pirates sometimes follow delivery vehicles through neighborhoods as they make their stops and then snatch packages that just came off the truck. The average value of a stolen packages is $140, and porch pirates are more active in North Dakota than in any other state.
But unfortunately, the package delivery services make it even easier for porch pirates to steal packages than following delivery trucks.
How? By allowing porch pirates to create an online account with the package delivery services in our names.
Anybody can create an online account for the package delivery services for a specific address. These delivery services do not try to verify that the account creator actually lives at that address.
So, a thief could easily create an account in your name and then watch for an online notification of a package to be delivered on a specific date. He can then just wait for a confirmation notice that the package has been delivered. The pirate can then drive by your house and pick up your package.
But wait, there's more.
These online accounts also allow the account holder to designate somebody else to receive a package. Most accounts allow a neighbor to be designated to receive your package. Another option is to deliver the package to another address entirely. It's so easy, in fact, that the pirates don't ever have to leave home.
So, what should you do to protect yourself?
If you have not already, you should create your own online account with the USPS, FedEx, UPS, and any other package delivery service that brings packages your way. This will at least prevent the porch pirates from impersonating you by setting up an online account in your name.
You must be a registered user to add a comment. If you've already registered, sign in. Otherwise, register and sign in.