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Protect your packages this holiday season

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- With a record peak holiday shipping season expected, it's likely you're planning to or have already ordered some gifts online.

The National Retail Federation estimates online sales to increase from last year's numbers between 7 and 10 percent, rising to as much as $117 billion.

But some Scrooges may also attempt to cash in. Experts offer some tips for protecting your holiday purchases this year:

  • Consider leaving special delivery instructions. Instead of having the carrier drop the shipment at your door, see if you can designate a spot around the back of your home, or a spot out of sight from the street
  • Try some surveillance cameras if you're concerned about the security of a hot-ticket item
  • Use helpful options from your carrier. FedEx, UPS, and United States Postal Service have some features you may like. Their web pages and apps can allow you to place your mail on hold to be held at the post office, or track your packages to see when they've arrived.
  • See if a delivery manager can work for you. This tool from FedEx can help you schedule the delivery to arrive at a specific time. UPS My Choice can even allow you to reroute a package to a different address.
  • Schedule the delivery for your work instead of your home, if that's where you'll spend your time the day of delivery.
  • Check with your neighbors to see if they'll watch your door for you

Police say package thefts are crimes of opportunity, and warn you to stay vigilant to keep yourself from falling victim once your mail arrives.