There are other weird things these thieves are doing as well. To prevent you from reading any e-mails alerting you to the credit card charges or purchases, they send you 100 or more SPAM e-mails, so your inbox is "bombed". They are hoping you are checking e-mail on a smart phone and just delete them en masse apparently.
Another person reports that the thieves intercepted the packages (for expensive iPhone X's - a commonly bought item, apparently) and then returned them, unopened, to the Apple store for iTunes cards, which they then cashed in. The hapless victim then has trouble getting a refund from his credit card, as Apple is showing the product was already returned and a refund given! Ouch!
A hotel clerk reports yet another twist - people make reservations at the hotel and have the packages shipped there in care of the hotel. They show up to claim the package and then cancel the reservation. After this happened three or four times, the hotel wised up and called the Police.
Another person claims that fraudsters, if they can't intercept the package at your home, will send you an official-looking e-mail with a return authorization label, so the package gets sent to their address. At first, this sounds less plausible to me, as the return address might appear suspicious and also leave a trail of breadcrumbs for the police to follow. But once again, they just porch pirate. They merely wait for the "returned" merchandise to be sent to an address near them and..... pirate it off the porch, or claim to be the resident (complete with fake ID).
For $2000 laptops and $1000 iPhones, it can be a pretty lucrative gig, even if only 1 out of every 4 packages is intercepted. It begs the question as to why the phone people don't make it easier to track these things and shut them down if they are stolen, but as someone once explained to me, a stolen phone often means a sale of a new one to the victim, and a cell plan sale to the purchaser of the stolen one - a win-win for the telco. I suspect these more sophisticated porch pirates are doing this en masse and shipping these overseas for resale. Probably Russia.
But you live in a safe area! Gated community! Upscale neighborhood! They wouldn't dare try to pirate from your porch! You have ten security cameras and an exploding dummy "bait box" waiting from them!
Oh, but think again. They either use a different address on the order, or, if the merchant doesn't allow this, they try to re-direct the package once it has already been shipped. They call the shipper (UPS or FedEx) and tell some sob story about how they are visiting relatives and want the package redirected to a new address - and then porch pirate it from that porch! Since they are not having it shipped to their own address, they can't be traced.
In a way, none of this surprises me. It is like the non-existent dog scam that used my stolen debit card as a small piece of a larger enterprise. It is not a simple "I take your credit card and buy things with it" kind of deal, but layers of an onion which make it hard for Police to investigate and nearly impossible for them to catch anyone.
It is like these squirrel videos I see on YouTube. People put up obstacle courses to keep squirrels out of their bird feeders and the squirrels just learn to overcome the obstacles. The homeowner adds more discs, spinners, rotating cylinders, and whatnot, and the squirrel merely figures out a way around these.
I am not sure what the answer is, of course. But another aspect of modern American living goes by the wayside. Having stuff delivered to your porch is, apparently, a thing of the past for more and more Americans.