By Robbie Owens

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NORTH TEXAS (CBS11) – That great Cyber Monday deal could become a real steal for thieves who take packages off porches. So retailers and shipping companies are encouraging customers to take steps to thwart theft by shipping to secure locations.

“We’ve had some packages that have been taken off the porches,” said Joni Whitehead of Dallas. “So if I can send here, I do.”

Whitehead is an avid online shopper and is a big fan of Amazon, in particular. So after several neighbors also had packages stolen, Whitehead began opting for the security of Amazon lockers whenever possible.

“It’s very convenient,” said Whitehead. “I can pick it up when it’s convenient for me and you put a code in, the door pops open. It’s great.”

Whitehead prefers the lockers at a neighborhood QT gas station.

“It’s about a minute from my house,” she said.

Customers can search for the nearest Amazon locker location at checkout and might just find some in an unlikely location: the Irving Mall.

“They don’t want to leave their packages outside their house if they’re working,” said Annette Fonseca, Irving Mall’s marketing manager. “So this is very convenient for them. Its safe.”

Instead of competing with Amazon, Fonseca said the lockers have become a popular draw, increasing foot traffic to the mall since online shoppers once inside do tend to linger as well.

“Definitely!” added Fonseca with a laugh. “It’s basically everything under one roof.”

Shipping companies encourage customers shopping online to have packages delivered to their work locations if they’re not at home during the day, or perhaps a neighbor’s.

Requiring a signature can also prevent unattended packages from becoming targets for thieves.

The US Postal Service offers customers the option to have packages held for pick up at the post office.

Fed Ex suggests shipping packages to your nearest Fed Ex Office location. Packages can be held there for five days.

UPS encourages customers to let drivers know where to leave packages. Behind the garage, for example.

Secure pick up options include their Access Point Network which includes thousands of UPS Stores and also some neighborhood locations like grocery stores.

“If you purchase something, you’d like to receive it? Right. This way we know we’ll receive it,” said Whitehead.

And then there’s another reason to re-direct those packages—and it’s one that’s more in keeping with the season.

“I was actually thinking about my holiday shopping,” said Fonseca. “I don’t want my husband to find his gift on the doorstep… so I will be using my Amazon locker to get his gift.”

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