Got Free, Unexpected Amazon Packages You Didn’t Order? Beware of the Brushing Scam.
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It’s every Amazon shopper’s dream… open your door and find a plethora of promising packages on your stoop that you never ordered, and with no return address, packing receipt, or order number.
While it might seem exciting at first, unfortunately, chances are you’re a victim of the latest Amazon scam called brushing.
So what’s brushing?
In this international e-commerce home delivery scheme, overseas sellers purchase their own items through fake buyer accounts and have the merchandise sent to real U.S. homes. The seller then gives themselves a glowing “verified” review of the product in order to rank higher in Amazon search engine ratings.
It seems harmless, right? Plus, there could be something REALLY cool in those packages. Or not, if you’re like this Boston couple who’ve received dozens of suspect, unwanted packages and who feel helpless to make it stop.
Should I be worried if I’m brushed?
Yes. Phantom sellers could be shipping anything to your home, from harmless trinkets to adult novelty items (ahem ahem) to contraband. This also means someone has access to your name, address, and possibly other personal information. Worse yet, when a company scams Amazon, everyone pays in the end.
What should I do if I’m brushed?
If you start receiving packages you never ordered to your name and address, the Identity Theft Resource Center recommends you:
- Contact the retailer immediately.
- Change your passwords to your online accounts, just in case the scammer found your address from hacking into your account.
- If you start receiving a lot of shipments, contact the post office for help with holding packages until you can pick them up or figure out what’s going on.
- Research before you buy. Use a free software like Fakespot to ensure the products you’re purchasing aren’t rated highly due to brushing.