packageIowans will send tens of thousands of holiday packages over the next few weeks and the U.S. Postal Service wants those shipping an item to take safety precautions.

Postal Inspector Dave Margritz, in the Omaha-Council Bluffs office, says the number-one rule is do not send cash. Write a check or use a money order instead. “Technically, they can still attempt to forge that and use it,” he says, “but then we have investigative leads that we can track, whereas cash is pretty much gone if it’s stolen.”

Margritz says the free tracking option also provides peace of mind. “You can track packages in real time,” he says, “You can set up alerts, say I want to be texted or emailed whenever there’s a changes in delivery status, or you can specify only when it’s delivered.” Margritz says there are options for senders to ensure a safer delivery. One way is to hold a package for pickup.

“It’s held, so they have to go get it. You can also require a signature, so they have to sign for it and it won’t just be left on the porch, so you know that someone got it,” Margritz says. “That eliminates any controversy.” Margritz says getting a tracking number helps the sender and receiver know when a delivery is likely. He also suggests insuring packages with high-priced items inside.

“It doesn’t cost very much,” Margritz says. “People are used to insuring their house, their car, their life. If you’re getting something for hundreds of dollars or even thousands of dollars, spend a little bit extra and have it insured, because that would definitely pay off, if something did happen to it.” The U.S. Postal Service estimates it will deliver 590 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.