Ordering a package from Amazon or any other online store has become a daily occurrence. These mail theft statistics give insight into where lost mail really goes and how you can prevent it from happening to you.
People shop for everything and anything online these days. From gifts to appliances and even the weekly grocery list, many people are ordering and can’t wait for their packages to arrive.
Once the mailbox remains empty and the awaited package never arrives, two things could have happened: it was lost, or it was stolen. The chances are that the package will never be found.
The Most Crucial Mail Theft Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- Between 2017 and 2020, mail theft increased by 600%
- Upon delivery, around 23 million people have had their package stolen
- In the United States, about 1.7 million packages are stolen every day
- Almost 50% of people reported a stolen parcel to the police
- The number of Americans who had their package stolen rose to 43% in 2020
- In 2020, over 60% of people stayed at home to wait for a parcel
- Approximately 70% of people won’t use Amazon Key
- Since mail theft is a felony, the punishment is a fine or prison time of up to five years
USPS Lost Mail Statistics: Some Packages Get Lost, Others Get Stolen
Among the billions of packages shipped by Americans every year, it is hard to determine which ones are lost, which are stolen by the United States Postal Service (USPS) employees, and which ones are taken from the porches upon delivery.
1. It’s estimated that 3% of all mail is lost by the US postal service.
There is no definitive answer to the question of how much mail is lost each year. While some estimates report 3%, it’s difficult to know for sure as the post office doesn’t measure its delivery performance and never has.
One way of measuring lost mail is by tallying reports of missing packages. While this identifies how many have been lost, it doesn’t indicate whether the package was lost or stolen.
2. About 23 million people have their package stolen upon delivery.
According to package theft statistics, almost 23 million Americans who ordered stuff online were victims of porch pirates in 2019. Notably, 74% of those packages were stolen while the homeowners were at work.
3. Mail theft reports increased by 600% 2017–2020.
The Postal Inspection Service shared the data that shows an enormous increase in mail theft reports. By August 2020, there were roughly 177,000 reports, indicating a 600% increase in stolen mail over the last three years.
4. There were 1,472 internal investigations related to mail theft by postal employees October 2020–September 2021.
While many cases of theft occur from an outsider grabbing a package off a doorset, of the 1,472 internal investigations with the USPS, 453 resulted in arrests, and 1,042 administrative actions were taken.
The USPS is responsible for any internal complaints about postal workers or mail sorters, while the police are responsible for porch pirates and thieves outside of the postal jurisdiction.
5. Mail theft statistics from 2019 show the number of Americans who had their package stolen rose from 36% to 43% in 2020.
With the arrival of the pandemic, staying at home and ordering online became a norm, resulting in an increase of parcels and also mail theft. The latest data shows that the number of victims rose from 36% in 2019 to 43% in 2020.
6. Approximately 1.7 million packages are stolen daily in the US.
With the increase in online shopping, package theft numbers are rising. Even though USPS lost mail statistics show that lost mail can’t be counted, it’s estimated that 1.7 million packages are stolen per day in the US. That’s around $20 to $30 billion lost every year.
7. 47% of people filed a police report about a stolen parcel.
Nearly half of people will file a police report if they notice or think their package has been stolen, and with good cause. The average value of an ordered package is $136, and luckily many companies provide refunds for stolen goods.
How To Report Mail Theft
Mail is defined as any letter, postcard, package, box, or bag. Mail theft can happen in private or collection mailboxes, mail trucks, or postal workers. With billions of packages moving around each year, chances are some packages will be stolen. There are some things that you can do to possibly locate your mail, however, starting with a mail theft report.
8. Mail theft is a felony, and the punishment is a fine or prison time of up to five years.
Even though it seems like a minor thing, mail theft is a federal crime. It is defined as taking any package, card, or other posted item that doesn’t belong to you. This felony is punishable by a fine or prison time of up to five years. The mail theft punishment for postal employees who steal is also up to five years in prison, based on the 18 US Code, Section 1709.
9. A total of 32% of consumers feel like companies could do more.
Both consumers and companies are working on preventing mail theft. For example, FedEx, Amazon, and UPS require signatures or lock boxes to try and ensure the proper recipient is reached. It may not be enough, however, as 32% of customers still think companies can do more to prevent theft from happening.
Mailbox Theft Prevention
While there’s no chance of knowing and preventing mail theft in the primary steps of shipping, there are ways to keep it in place once it reaches the doorstep. Staying at home, limiting what you purchase online, and installing video surveillance systems are all prevention techniques used by regular internet shoppers.
10. Around 42% of people avoid ordering expensive items online to prevent mail identity theft.
Mail theft became an even bigger issue during the peak of the holiday season in the last couple of years. So much so that 47% of people who order online claimed they worry about theft, and 42% said they stopped ordering expensive items online to prevent losing money.
11. A total of 64% of people stayed at home to wait for a parcel in 2020.
A major theft prevention technique, especially for mailbox theft, is to be at home and wait for the package to arrive. Notably, 64% of people say that they do this when they are expecting a package, while 24% report that they do in-store pickup. 11% of people sent their packages to friends or relatives to ensure safe arrival.
12. About 50% of people also have some sort of doorbell camera to prevent mail theft.
Package theft statistics show that there are several techniques that have shown to reduce theft, not just on your doorstep, and video surveillance is one of them. Porch pirates are aware of the different ways that people try to protect their mail, but still, 50% of homeowners have a doorbell camera, as well as motion lights and alarm systems.
13. The number of individual mailboxes, P.O. boxes, and alternative delivery points grow by one million every year.
One way to not become a USPS lost mail statistic is to rent a private mailbox. One million people choose this option every year in order to limit the potential for doorstep piracy and keeps potential thieves away from your home.
14. About 70% of people still won’t use the Amazon Key.
The Amazon Key system is a way to avoid mail theft by allowing Amazon delivery workers access to your home in order to drop off a package. Despite many security systems in place like mobile alerts and video surveillance, nearly three-quarters of people say they don’t feel good about using it.
These mail theft statistics show that it’s not just about losing the cool thing you ordered online. The consequences of mail theft can be severe, even resulting in identity theft and other related scams.
Find out how to deter identity theft.
There are precautions to take against porch pirates, however, but not from USPS employees. Postal Service Inspectors are doing all they can to prevent and punish those who steal from valued customers. Together with the proper prevention and police tools, the rising number of mail theft might drop in the future.
People Also Ask
It’s difficult to accurately report the amount of US mail that gets lost because USPS doesn’t monitor delivery rates and never has. According to mail theft reports, however, it’s estimated that 3% of parcels are lost in the mail.
Mail theft is defined as a federal crime in 18 US Code, Section 1708 for individuals, and Section 1709, for Post Office employees. In both cases, the punishment is a fine and up to five years in prison. If you notice that someone stole your mail, notify the Postal Inspector, the nearest police station, and talk with your neighbors to get information on the possible culprit.
11 million US residents were victims of mail theft in 2019, but not all of them filed an official report. Despite that, the Postal Inspection Service has recently published information that shows an increase of 600% in mail theft reports. By August 2020, there were roughly 177,000 reports of lost or stolen mail.
There are many reasons people steal mail, and mail can be stolen at each delivery step. For example, some organized crime groups steal mail trucks, while the employees find it hard not to take a look at what’s in the box. Porch pirates might steal it because they believe it’s valuable or if they know it contains sensitive information that they can use for other crimes.
When someone steals the mail, it’s of utmost importance to file a report to the United States Postal Inspection Service. This is the first step to take, as it’s the body that investigates mail theft.
Since mail theft is a felony, the local police station should also get involved, especially if the video doorbell recorded any video or image of the perpetrator.
Unfortunately, even though delivery companies also have high numbers in mail theft statistics, they don’t claim any responsibility in helping the customers find the packages.