Primed for theft: Holiday package theft costs Americans hundreds of dollars, study finds 

  • 43% of Americans who do their holiday shopping online have experienced holiday package theft 
  • Of those who have had holiday packages stolen, 35% were unable to get their money back after reporting the item was stolen 
  • The financial loss for those who couldn’t get their money back ranged from $100 to $299 for nearly half of people (47%)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for porch pirates. Porch pirates, a term used to describe people who steal packages from other people’s doorsteps, have become a growing problem for consumers over the years, especially those who do a bulk of their shopping online. Now, as we gear up for the holiday season, consumers are likely to see an uptick in package theft, which could have a lasting impact on their wallets. 

According to a study conducted by Qualtrics on behalf of Credit Karma, 45% of Americans are fearful of package theft this holiday season. Gen Z and millennials are among those who are the most concerned about holiday package theft this year, 53% and 49% respectively, along with those who live in urban areas (50%). 

Worries about holiday package theft are warranted when looking at the number of people who have been affected. According to the study, 43% of Americans who holiday shop online say they have experienced holiday package theft before. This number jumps to 59% when looking at Americans living in urban areas and falls to 38% for those living in suburban areas and 31% for those living in rural areas. What’s more, in some cases of package theft, consumers say they’ve been unable to recover the cost of their package(s) after reporting it had gone missing. In fact, 35% of those who have had their holiday packages stolen say they were unable to get their money back from the retailer after reporting the item was stolen. This was especially true for Gen Z respondents, 43% of which said they were unable to get their money back after reporting the missing item. 

Beyond the frustration and violation of having a package stolen, holiday package theft is taking a toll on consumers’ finances. According to the study, nearly half of those who couldn’t get their money back after reporting a stolen package say the unrecoverable cost ranged from $100 to $299 (47%). People living in urban areas were even more likely to report higher amounts of unrecoverable costs with more than one-in-four urban respondents saying they lost an estimated $300 or more on stolen holiday packages (26%). 

“According to this study, 88% of Americans plan to do some or all of their holiday shopping online this holiday season, with more than one-in-five saying they plan to do all of their holiday shopping online this year (21%). While online shopping comes with a number of perks, including being able to shop from the comfort of one’s home and have products delivered directly to a person’s doorstep, it also comes with a set of risks – namely package theft,” said Colleen McCreary, consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma. “While the prospect of having purchases stolen from your doorstep may seem scary, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself. If possible, start by having your packages delivered to your workplace instead of your house. That way there’s more likely someone there to retrieve the package as soon as it arrives. You can also sign up for tracking services to make it easy for you to track the location of your package and allows you to plan to be available when it’s scheduled to arrive. For people in more urban areas, I’ve heard of some more crafty ways to avoid package theft, like working out a deal with a nearby retailer to have packages delivered there for later pick up.” 


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Qualtrics on behalf of Credit Karma from September 23-27, 2022 among 1,037 adults ages 18 and older.