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Tips to avoid falling victim to package theft this holiday

Cyber Monday is just days away and many Americans do their holiday shopping online. That means there are more packages on doorsteps and more thieves taking them.

BANGOR, Maine — It's the holiday season and many people are looking for that perfect gift for their loved ones.

Some people chose to wait in those long, cold lines... while others opt for shopping from the comfort of their own homes.

According to C & R Research, 94% of Americans said they plan to buy at least one gift online this holiday season.

According to that same study, 36% of Americans have had a package stolen right off their doorsteps within the last year. That's up from 31% in 2017.

"We've definitely seen an increase as far as online shopping and returns," UPS Store Owner Melissa Braley said.

But with the increase of packages being shipped, there's an increase in theft.

"There are people that will follow delivery drivers this time of year," Bangor Police Sargent Wade Betters said.

That's right.

Real-life grinches.

"They don't ring the doorbell they walk right up take it off the porch and they're gone," Betters said.

Many of these thieves don't even care what's in the package.

"Most of the time they have absolutely no idea," Betters added.

To be sure you don't fall victim to package theft, shipping experts and police offer these tips:

- Install a security camera

- Sign up for automatic update alerts to see where your package is

- Work with UPS, FedEx or the Post Office to get your package held at one of their locations so you can pick it up when it's convenient for you

If you end up missing a package, or see someone you don't recognize on your neighbor's front steps, police say not to confront the person. They say to try and remember as many details as possbile about their appearance and their vehicle, and to call your local law enforcement.

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