The BoxLock can be a deterrent to ‘porch pirates’

With services like Amazon, UPS, USPS ,and FedEx delivering thousands of products to front doors every day in this age of online shopping, lots of folks are getting ripped off by “porch pirates” — thieves who snatch and run with goodies they didn’t pay for.

The BoxLock is a product designed to prevent such thefts. It’s a timely solution since about 26 million Americans have had packages stolen from their doorstep, according to the US Google Stolen Package Search Index.

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The BoxLock is a 6.5 x 2.6 x 2.0-inch, “smart” lock with an accompanying iOS app. To use them, you need a storage receptacle with a hasp for a lock and a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi connection. The BoxLock has an internal rechargeable battery that lasts up to 30 days before needing a recharge. It comes with a USB charging adapter and cable, as well as a printed master barcode that you can use to open the lock if you don't have your iPhone with you.

The bottom part of the BoxLock contains a barcode scanner that's activated by pressing the black button at the top of the lock. Inside is a 2.4 GHz WiFi radio that connects the lock to your home network and a Bluetooth radio for close-range communications. You place whatever storage container you wish to use at the location of your choosing. 

The BoxLock mobile app links your BoxLock account to your UPS MyChoice, USPS (United States Postal Service), FedEx, and Amazon delivery accounts. When a shipment is out for delivery, the app's Effortless Tracking feature scans your email looking for this information and adds it to your Packages list. 

You can also manually input tracking information. When the driver delivers the package to your house, he/she uses the lock to scan the shipping label barcode, which unlocks the BoxLock. The driver puts your package or packages inside the storage container and refastens the padlock. 

Once the barcode is scanned you'll receive an email and a text message alerting you that the package has arrived. Well, unless you have a POP3 email account, which the app doesn’t support.

Most of the time, if a thief can't see a package they won't know it's there. But to be as safe as possible, you should bolt your storage container to your house and/or porch from inside the container so thieves can't access the bolts.

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With the BoxLock, every package scanned goes through a two-step verification. First, the hardware/software combo verifies that the package is out for delivery with one of the major shipping companies that day. Second, it verifies that you are indeed the package’s intended recipient. If a delivery doesn’t meet both of these requirements, the BoxLock can't be opened without your permission.

 What’s more, the padlock is encased in a fiber reinforced plastic. It also incorporates a proprietary locking mechanism designed so it isn’t susceptible to the techniques used to open other padlocks. 

The BoxLock Home is designed to make delivery drivers’ life as possible, as they need no additional hardware or software to use it.The driver just scans a tracking number to open the BoxLock. The iOS app will update to show the delivery status of your packages.

You can buy a BoxLock for $129. You can get it with a yard sign denoting that you use the service for $149. Box Lock bundles with the Box Lock, yard sign, and compatible storage container start at $239. There are many different types of boxes available — from a small box to a $899.99 storage bench.

Using the BoxLock does require a small set-up process and some cash outlay. The question is: how much is it worth to keep all your delivered products safe?

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★