Police have a bit of advice that could keep your blood pressure from spiking unnecessarily this holiday season: If you see a U-Haul truck parked in your driveway, don't assume it's a burglar or terrorist; it's likely just a UPS driver in a rented truck.
Across the nation, concerned residents have been calling police and even dialing 911 to report suspicious deliveries.
"I keep getting UPS packages delivered to me by a man who comes in a U-Haul truck with a sign on the door that says UPS on it. Is this normal? 'Cause every time he comes I think it's ISIS pretending to be a UPS man," wrote one concerned Facebook user.
UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot told NBC affiliate Wave3 in Louisville, Kentucky, that the delivery company often uses rental trucks during its busiest time of year.
"During the holiday season it is quite common for UPS to use U-Haul trucks to handle the extra package deliveries that are needed," he said. "If someone shows up at your door with a UPS uniform and a DIAD (Delivery Information Acquisition Device) computer, you can rest assured that that's going to be a UPS driver."
The sheriff's office in Shelby County, Kentucky, was even compelled to write a post on its Facebook page to address frequent calls from alarmed residents about the practice.
"We have received a call from the UPS securities department over concerns that their drivers are being stopped and questioned about thefts in the area by residents because they are driving U-Haul trucks instead of the normal UPS truck," it said. "... They have rented over 50 U-Haul trucks this season so it will be common to see a UPS driver in one. We have received no information that a UPS driver has been involved in any theft."
UPS is expecting a record holiday season this year: Online shoppers spent $3 billion on Cyber Monday, a 12 percent increase over last year's e-commerce sales, according to data released by Adobe - and all those gifts have to be delivered somehow. UPS hired around 95,000 seasonal workers to help with the estimated 630 million packages that need to be on doorsteps by Dec. 24.
Even so, data analyzed by software developer ShipMatrix indicate that UPS' on-time delivery rates are down to 91 percent this year compared to 97 percent last year. UPS rejects any claims that its deliveries aren't running smoothly, telling Fortune magazine last week, "UPS' shipping network is running according to our plans and customers can expect to receive their shipments in line with the service level commitment."