(NEXSTAR) — More than 850 million packages are expected to be shipped during this holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) estimated in early November. Unfortunately, not every one of those packages will be delivered perfectly.
Some packages are wrongfully taken by porch pirates. It is estimated 210 million packages “disappeared from porches” between November 2020 and November 2021.
For others, packages may not even reach their porch.
“While not common, lost packages do happen,” a spokesperson for UPS told Nexstar.
Similar sentiments were shared by representatives of Amazon, FedEx, and USPS.
What can lead to a lost package
According to UPS, a box being too big or too small, lacking enough cushioning, poorly placed labels, and unclear delivery instructions can lead to lost packages. Reusing an old box and not removing old labels can also create problems.
In addition to packaging your shipment correctly, USPS notes it is important to include all elements of the destination address, like the apartment number, P.O. Box, and the ZIP code. If you are sending the package, don’t forget a return address.
USPS also recommends putting both the delivery and return addresses on a card or slip of paper inside the package, which can be helpful if the shipping box becomes damaged or the mailing label falls off.
What to do if your package never arrives
How to report a missing package varies for each shipping company, but most can be done online:
Having as much information about the package can help with your claim. That includes the addresses of the shipper and receiver, the size of the package, and the most recent tracking information.
All four shipping providers offer online tracking services for packages you’re shipping and receiving.
Watch out for scams
Scammers send phishing emails with fake tracking links enclosed that may allow unwanted access to your private information or download malware onto your device. They may also try to trick people into paying new shipping fees or use fake “missed delivery” tags asking for you to call them.
The Better Business Bureau is encouraging consumers to watch out for suspicious texts, calls, or emails about their packages. Additionally, the BBB recommends checking any messages about your package for authenticity to avoid falling for a scam.
When your package does arrive on your porch, be mindful of porch pirates and how naked packaging may be luring them.