The rise of online shopping has also led to a rise in package theft. As billions of packages are now shipped to our doorways each year, millions are stolen before their rightful owners can see what’s inside. In fact, about 23 million Americans had a package stolen from their homes just last year.

There are many ways to prevent package theft, but unfortunately, sometimes it’s unavoidable. If you had a delivery stolen from your doorway, here are four steps you can take to refund or recover the missing package.

1. Confirm It Was Actually Delivered

Delivery companies process thousands of orders every day, so there’s bound to be a few oversights. Just because you got a delivery confirmation from your courier, it doesn’t mean the package actually made it to your doorway.

Before you file a theft report, contact the delivery company to confirm that your package was dropped off when their tracking services said it was. If you’re lucky, there may have been a mistake, and your package may still be on the way.

2. Check With Neighbors

Some delivery drivers will choose to leave your package with a neighbor if they feel like it’s a more secure option. Some people will even go out of their way to store their neighbors’ packages to keep them safe. And of course, sometimes your packages are just delivered to the wrong address.

Ask your neighbors if they received your package or if they saw it being delivered. Hopefully your package is in safekeeping with a neighbor, but if it isn’t, they may be able to provide some information regarding its whereabouts.

3. Contact the Sender

If you’ve confirmed that the package was delivered but is now likely stolen, the first thing you should do is contact the sender of your shipment.

Many retailers will work with you to rectify issues with lost or stolen shipments. Some retailers will even choose to refund or replace your purchase immediately and deal with the delivery company themselves, taking a lot of the legwork and stress off your plate.

If the package was sent by anyone other than a retailer (i.e. a friend, family member or office), reach out to the sender to confirm that the address was correct and everything else was in order. Unfortunately, if the stolen package was sent by a friend or family member, you may have little chance of recovering your stolen goods, in which case you’ll have to file a theft report.

4. File a Theft Report

If you’ve gone through all the steps outlined above, and you still haven’t found your package, your delivery is most likely lost for good. Unfortunately, the only thing you can do at this point is file a theft report with your delivery company.

Here are links to theft-reporting pages for the most popular US carriers:

Prevent Theft Before It Happens

No one wants to deal with a stolen package, but hopefully this article removes some of the stress and headaches involved with the process.

Going forward, if you want to avoid this process altogether, consider implementing home-security techniques that can help you prevent package theft before it happens.

For example, with Ring Video Doorbell, you can monitor your home and answer the door from anywhere. Ring sends you alerts when visitors press your Doorbell or trigger its built-in motion sensors. And from the free Ring app, you can see, hear and speak to visitors from your smartphone, tablet or PC.

With smart-home technology like Ring, you’ll be the first to know when your packages are delivered, and you can watch over your home and prevent package theft from your smartphone.