It happens every holiday season: Packages are stolen from New Jersey porches. But there are steps consumers can take to ensure their deliveries don't end up in the hands of thieves.

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If you know you're not going to be home and a package is headed your way, you can control when and where it's delivered to avoid having it sit on a porch, according to FedEx spokeswoman Katie Wassmer.

"You can shift the time or date that that package is delivered to you," said Wassmer.  She noted FedEx offers a free online Delivery Manager option that allows consumers to choose an alternative destination for their package, such as their workplace or a neighbor's house.

Packages can be sent directly to a shipping service location for pick-up by the consumer at a later date.

Carriers, including FedEx, have mobile apps that allow customers to sign remotely for packages or request a signature for a package.

"A lot of times, a package that's of a higher value will require a signature," Wassmer said.

FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service offer detailed tracking and the option to submit special instructions for the courier upon delivery.

"If you want to leave a specific note for the courier to leave a package behind the planter, or to deliver it to the side door, our couriers can do that for you," said Wassmer.

The carrier is not responsible for stolen packages, according to Wassmer. She suggested consumers report missing packages to police and to contact the retailer to see if there's any recourse.

Contact reporter Dianne DeOliveira at Dianne.DeOliveira@townsquaremedia.com.