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Got Free, Unexpected Amazon Packages You Didn’t Order? Beware of the Brushing Scam.

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Free STUFF!

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.

amazon packages beware brushing scam – chair filled with amazon packages

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:

  1. Contact the retailer immediately.
  2. Change your passwords to your online accounts, just in case the scammer found your address from hacking into your account.
  3. 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.
  4. Research before you buy. Use a free software like Fakespot to ensure the products you’re purchasing aren’t rated highly due to brushing.

Have you received unordered packages to your home?

Join The Discussion

Comments 78

  1. As

    Wow ,That sounds scary.

  2. Stephanie

    My coworker has received 3 packages that he didn’t order, over the past two years. Gloves, headphones, and a phone case for a phone he doesn’t have. I’m jealous because I want free stuff and he’s the paranoid type so he was not happy about it. Ha!

    • Angel

      I have received two packages from amazon already an I called them an they can’t find out anything on these packages. So I have wax machine an no use for it. Lol

      • Michele

        I got wax machine too lol !!!

  3. Colorado Amy

    I’ve been receiving emails that look like they come from Amazon. The sender’s name is Amazon Prime and the subject states my order has arrived. I am not a Prime member and am not waiting on a shipment. When I click on the email, I see the sender’s email address doesn’t have the word Amazon in it. There are just links in the email, which I never click on. Beware!

    • Emma

      I do too. I just ignore these… just like the fake paypal emails!

    • Tiphanie

      same here

    • rpearson

      Same. I get the same type email from “PayPal” but whenever I click on the name of the sender, PayPal isn’t in the name. Plus, I don’t have a card saved in PayPal so how would anyone order anything anyway? Its clickbait. They want you to click it and then report it, in turn getting your information so they can scam you. Beware!

    • Coleen

      I’ve been getting them for the past month

    • Diana

      I get fake Facebook ones to an email my Facebook is not even hooked to.

  4. Casey

    This happened to me too. I called Amazon several times until they finally stopped the shipments. I received over a dozen packages all with small items (chargers, cases, etc.). All of the packages were addressed to me and when I called I found out they were also ordered in my name. Scary.

    • Mamamia

      Were u paying for them?

  5. Laura W

    I just received an electric heating pad in the mail last week, but didn’t have Amazon on it, that came with USPS tracking. When I looked up the return name there wasn’t a company. I checked Amazon thinking I may have forgotten I ordered it and didn’t see anything. Is this similar?

    • Sarah

      It most likely is. They shipped it themselves instead of via Prime. Either way it’s likely a sketchy company wanting to increase their reviews.

  6. Jess

    Thanks for posting this! This is actually happening to a facebook friend of mine right now. She’s received over 50 swimsuits from an Amazon seller from China!

    • Rae

      lol guess she’s set for the beach. I don’t know why they need to brush when names, and addresses are public information on google.

    • Amber (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh wow! You’re welcome Jess!

    • Kristi S.

      One might be mine! I ordered the $8 one in April and STILL haven’t gotten it!

  7. RamonaR

    OMG…This just happened to me!! Last Thursday I received a package from Amazon, addressed to me, and when I opened it I didn’t recognize any of the items (I knew I hadn’t ordered them!) nor did I know who they were from. The package did come with a gift note saying “Happy Birthday Grandma.” But I did notice that the items had labels from the same international business name. I contacted Amazon immediately as I was thinking this poor Grandma has a birthday present and I need to get this gift resent to her right away! The Amazon Help Line lady asked for the tracking number and it was indeed in my name. But she assured me that their weren’t any charges on my account, that most likely this was UPS’s error. Since they had no way of finding the person who made the order she told me that I could keep or donate the items (which I haven’t even opened from their gift wrap, as I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed that Amazon or UPS would contact me once they found who the package was supposed to go to).
    Thank you SO MUCH for this post!! I am making the changes to my account immediately!

    • Renee

      Same thing happened to me last year. I received a pair of high-heeled Timberland boots I never ordered. According to the shipping stickers it went from the US to China back to the US. It had my address on it. I called Amazon and they told me the same thing as the person above they couldn’t find the order number so I could either keep it or throw it away or donate it. According to the shipping stickers it went from the US to China back to the US. It had my address on it. I called Amazon and they told me the same thing as the person above they couldn’t find the order number so I could either keep it throw it away or donate it. I ended up giving them to my niece because they weren’t anything I would wear and not my size

    • Amber (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      You are SO welcome! Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us!

  8. Ms. Frizzle

    It’s funny you mentioned this. Just yesterday we got a package of an item we already ordered. So we got 2. The 2nd one does not show in our order history though. I am not sure if it is a “brushing”. I have forwarded this information to my husband.

    • Melanie

      We had that happen a couple years ago and it was just Amazon making a mistake and shipping our order twice. When I contacted them, they told me to just keep it. We also had the same thing happen last year with a duplocate Target shipment-again they told me to keep it!

    • Elle

      I had something similar happen with Kohls a few years ago. I got a duplicate order but the second one also had a bunch of extra stuff we didn’t order. I think it was just a mistake in the shipping/packing process.
      My mom got an order from Target recently that had what appeared to be display blankets (they had some strange stitching – like to hang over a pole) added into the order.

  9. Dkp91576

    I bought a bunch of accessories for my new iPhone from a few Chinese vendors on Amazon. They automatically sent me extra chargers, cases, generic wireless pods and said I could keep all of it as long as I posted glowing reviews. It stopped for a few weeks and today I received a battery case for my phone which retails for $59. I feel happy and guilty all at once.

  10. Talora

    Myself and some people in my neighborhood received packages from Amazon but it was address to a different person. I tried searching on social media but nothing came up

  11. Denise

    I received two suspicious packages like this. Called amazon to let them know. They told me to keep both unfortunately one was a box with just one generic card the other box was filled with something that looked like it was out of a bubble gum machine! Lol to bad it wasn’t something I needed like an air fryer 😂

  12. Mrs.W

    Wow, what people don’t do these days!….

  13. K Rose Cha

    This happens to my parents. They’ve gotten phone chargers, a drone, holiday socks, a handicap potty seat, weird batteries, and several other things I can’t think of right now. 🙄🙄

  14. Jen

    I get packages addressed to different name but my address. I have received at least 12 addressed to this name. Amazon said keep it or toss it but they had no way to stop it. It been mostly clothing but nothing I would ever wear. As far name and address being out there….It’s for sell by every company you do business with. Even the school district where I live sells you and your kids info unless you fill out the required forms for them not to sell it.

  15. kidsallgone

    The purpose of sending the packages is why?? And can the person receiving these packages just keep them? Or are they held responsible for any $$ due?

    • M

      Purpose?: To boost their reviews.
      It doesn’t seem like a big deal to me as companies pay people for reviews these days.

      • Claudia

        You can’t review on items you don’t buy on amazon so it’s pointless.

        • Elle

          The person who made the fake account with your info is the one who posts the glowing reviews. You are just used for your address.

  16. Deb E

    Over a year ago, I was waiting on an Instant Pot from Amazon, so I was expecting a heavy big box at my apartment door. That day a light big box with the label of a basket company that sends wine baskets was left at my door, with a different apartment number and name on it. (I don’t drink wine–ever.) Right away, I suspected the UPS person probably mixed them up so trotted over to the apartment number that was on the wine basket box, and sure enough, Mr UPS had left my Instant Pot there! I didn’t even knock, but just switched the boxes to make it right. Sometimes it’s an honest mistake but I agree, free things can sometimes be creepy! Good to know this though, since I never heard of it.

    • rpearson

      UPS and Fedex now know where I live but I’ve had that happen. I had makeup that said it was delivered and it wasn’t. I found my box down the road at a house with similar house numbers and took my box. I was pretty upset with FedEx bc they wouldn’t send someone out to look for my package, even though the driver described the house he delivered to. I don’t suggest driving up to a house and grabbing a package but I pass that house everyday and no one lives there.

      • Keisha

        Oh my gosh, we have had so many problems with our FedEx deliveries! We track it, find that it was delivered and then we have no idea where. We’ve had 3 of our packages show up at 3 different houses. Its so frustrating. I’ve called to give the description of the house after I found that it kept happening. UPS never gets it wrong actually. But I cringe when I see it’s coming via FedEx now!

        • Tjs77tsa

          I have the opposite problem UPS can’t get it right and FedEx always does ever since they had to go get my package back from the wrong house a couple years ago. I called UPS so many times that my address now says signature required for all packages and the drivers still leave them at the wrong house.

  17. luna

    My goodness what happened to everyone these days

    • Susan

      It’s crazy!
      I’ve had mail and packages delivered by mistake to homes on the same street and they are never returned to me. In turn, I’ve received other people’s mail, etc but either give it to the mailman or UPS to send it down the street or I’ll drop it off myself. If neighbors can be so unkind as to keep your things, I guess anything is possible. Sad, indeed 🙁

  18. Jessie

    we’ve received an entire duplicate 10×10 rug weeks after we received other one. contacted Amazon they said keep it…. I suspect shipping expensive but way crazy

  19. softballwidow

    I’ve actually been getting these for almost a year. The packages don’t come through amazon, so there is nothing that they can do. I’m on a list somewhere, because the same address mistake (adding Connecticut to my city) has shown up on packages from Korea, China and Vietnam. I have credit monitoring, and I haven’t seen any charges, but I do wonder sometimes.

    I’ve tried the post office, but they were baffled, too. After the first dozen or so they just told me to toss them. Most of the time they are very small air envelopes, and either contain nothing, a small trinket or packing material. From my own online research, due to a deal with the USPS, it is actually cheaper to mail things to the us than to mail them domestically. They use these phantom packages to bolster their dealer standing, whether they get “reviews” or not.

  20. Christie

    Last summer I received a Yonanas frozen soft serve maker. It was addressed to me from Amazon. I never ordered it. I looked it up on Amazon and it was $120.00. I never have used it and was told I was not billed for it.

  21. Gina

    Thanks you for posting this information!!

    • Amber (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      You’re welcome Gina!

  22. Jess

    This happened to me. I received a shower cap and a toilet seat 😂

  23. Pam

    Honestly this all sounds awesome! Sign me up, mysterious internet brushers.

  24. JJ

    I’ve never received something in the mail like that, but I had done my research for the occasions where a retailer sent me something I didn’t order in addition to my actual order.

    Our Attorney General back in the day had a webpage just about unsolicited gifts, but the Federal Trade Commission says the same exact thing: “What do you do when you receive merchandise that you didn’t order? According to the Federal Trade Commission, you don’t have to pay for it.”

    Good enough for me! Haha!

  25. rose

    This happened to me. And a week later someone ported my sim card from my carrier and I was left without a service for 2 hours until I went to fix it. Then by then someone had stolen my information and wired money to them their selfs through Zelle App

  26. Shauna

    Yep, I’d worry about cameras in stuff or other ways people could be tracking you or gaining info about you through this stuff. Not worth it guys

  27. Margaret

    You know what’s terrible about this.. .I occasionally send an anonymous “pick me up” gift to a friend or family member I know is feeling down or having a tough time. Things like this take some of the fun out it because people have to be so suspicious of even that these days.

  28. Noriko

    Yes, I received two packages like this from supposedly an Amazon distribution center. I contacted Amazon and there is no history of the purchases so they said just keep it and they’ll leave a note on my account that I called them. I did get one random item (plastic hooks) and one creepy *ahem* adult item. I did freak out when the adult item came.

  29. Tammy S.

    This happened to me last year. We got back from vacation and had a box with 2 iRobot mopping machines that we did not order. However, they were paid for with MY credit card! The only note inside said “enjoy your gift”. I called Amazon, they had no record of it at all, even with the charge to my credit card. They told me to keep them, they couldn’t generate a return label without an order record. Luckily I did get a credit back from the credit card company as I disputed the charge and Amazon did not fight it. So after a month of trying to return these things and about 10 calls to Amazon, they are sitting, unopened, in my closet in the box.

    • Deborah Alston

      I will take one off your hands!

    • Cynthia

      I’ll take one too 🙂

  30. Kay nun

    After the recent package bombings here (TX) I would never open an unexpected package! My son received an unexpected Amazon package, in AZ. I told him not to open it because there are often copycat crimes. He left it on his porch and eventually someone stole it.

  31. TJ

    Thank you so much for posting this article. I received an unexpected package today from the same seller my daughter had ordered a phone case from. It was in an amazon envelope. I called amazon and he said it must be a gift from the company. Well the company didn’t say anything about a free gift for the $8 phone case we ordered. He said it can’t be returned because there’s no record of it being shipped by them. So weird. In the meantime, I’ve removed my CC info and changed my password. Crazy!

    • Janay

      Did changing your password stop the packages from coming?

  32. angel41087

    I don’t know if this will work but if you afraid to open the packages and don’t know what is inside, Amazon has on their app where you can scan the shipping label and it will let you know the contents of the package.

    • Holly

      That’s a really great tip! Thanks!

  33. Claudia

    This happened to me with items I had already gotten from sellers. As if it was a replacement but no order on my profile. I just kept the things and didn’t call anyone. It could be an error on the sellers profile or maybe someone hacked their profiles.

  34. mccom13

    i appreciate you posting this info, Collin et al–as well as all the comments too! after learning about this phenomenon from reading this page, my remaining question is: WHY is this called “brushing”?? am i the only person who has NOT figured that out yet?

  35. Katie

    I received a baby bassinet last fall. I called and Amazon kept telling me someone probably sent it as a gift. Umm my kids were 9, 10 and 12. I don’t think anyone was sending me a bassinet as a gift lol.

  36. JAMIE CORONA

    I have now received THREE mysterious packages from amazon prime?…the packages have my full name, my address and my phone number?…I was not charged for these items, but it is still creeping me out that someone is using my name and address to ship items too? and ESPECIALLY that they have my cell phone #?

    I chatted with amazon yesterday about this, and they told me that they could not disclose the persons (who is ordering these items and sending them to my address) full name, but his first name is Paul???

    I can NOT believe that this stranger has all of my personal info and is using me to ship his items, and the only thing amazon has to say, is not to worry because Im not being charged, and that I can always send the items back in exchange for an amazon gift card??

    So now I feel like I would be the one pulling a scam?
    I checked the return addresses on all of the packages, and all of them are amazon distribution centers.

  37. Kristin

    A few weeks ago, I got a rose gold stapler, a mouse pad and some staples. So random but I didn’t really think anything of it and it wasn’t on my order history.

  38. Christine

    Lol. Just happened to me. Received a $35 dress In my size I actually looked at before. Didn’t put in cart or buy it though so weird. I need new clothes so keep it coming g !

    • jaclynn esparza

      that is what happened to us. it was stuff we had looked at recently online. one was a small heater and the other was some type of ice bucket. I was only looking at ice cube trays.

  39. Annie

    I received a package yesterday via UPS which I didn’t order .I don’t know where it came from or no return label.I checked all website I usually shop from including my credit cards and bank account,no unusual charges was made . I’m scared and confused I thought someone is playing a sick game or something.

  40. Tammyane

    I am looking for such an informative post for a long time. Thank you for this post. Thank you for sharing your expertise. This post is very helpful. It’s informative too!

  41. Jim

    Hi. I just found a couple of envelopes with bottles of mineral supplements that I glanced at (but did not order) from a amazon site at my apt. doorstep(?). I did order a bottle from a cheaper ebay seller however,…I contacted amazon…they had no info on this order and said I could return the items to their warehouse or keep them. What should I do?…should I call the police?…delete my amazon account?….I appreciate advice! ! !

  42. Rick

    I’ve been receiving packages too from AMAZON but without return address and the items inside the packages are not in anyway I ordered. Today, I received another one and this makes me worried.. I tried to search on my Amazon account if it was in their system (my order lists) but there was no tracking of these items to make sure no one is using my account. Almost every week now I received 1 package from this unknown sender. I changed my password and did a secondary login verification just to make sure no one will use my account.

  43. Natalie

    I’m not receiving emails, just packages. I have received over 5 and they are all useful things, but I am wondering how did they get my information? They come into Amazon paraphernalia which makes me believe that Amazon knows what is going on. However, today I called Amazon and they have no clue and don’t understand how it has their information on it. Upon further research, I realize the item I receive says that you can pair it with other products which are all products that I have received recently! It’s very odd.

  44. Julia

    I have received things that I have actually ordered along with a duplicate packages. So far it has all been very nice things like king size electric blankets, baby high chairs, shoes and even 6 sets of expensive steak knives. It always comes from Kohl’s, Amazon or Macys. I will donate any extra packages to someone who could use it.

    • Abby

      That’s so kind! My mom needs a good set of steak knives if you need someone to take a set off your hands! I was actually going to look for one as her birthday (and Christmas) are next month. amd219@gmail.com if you go that route and need info, thanks!! 🙂

  45. Maggie

    So what’s to stop someone who receives unwanted crap from posting negative 1* reviews on Amazon? If it came from their distribution system, you should be a verified purchaser!

    Seems like that would make the mysterious trolls stop sending these packages and find someone else to bother.

    • Doodle

      I think feedback needs to be attached to an order number?

  46. Shannon

    I received a random “foot massager” that I did not order but was addressed to me and came in an amazon box. I read all of the posts about this happening and being only for reviews. However, I later noticed two charges from amazon on a credit card that had never been used for purchasing anything and was locked away in my safe. Turns out, my free item was charged to me but not by me, along with a kindle charge that was not mine.

  47. Eric Johnson

    I received a package yesterday via UPS which I didn’t order .I don’t know where it came from or no return label.I checked all website I usually shop from including my credit cards and bank account,no unusual charges was made . I’m scared and confused I thought someone is playing a sick game or something.

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