Have you received a package you didn’t order? Brushing scams are on the rise nowadays. In this guide, we explain what these scams are and how you can avoid them or protect yourself from falling prey to them.
Brushing scam: Received a package you didn’t order?
We normally do not receive packages we didn’t order. But it is the time of privacy and data leaks where we cannot know what kind of data is available online. Bad actors get hold of such data and use our information for their scams. One such scam is the brushing scam. Let’s know more about it.
What is a Brushing Scam?
Have you ever received a product or package that you didn’t order and wondered who sent it? Your friends or family might send gifts on special days, but these days, such unknown packages are part of online scams.
The entire digital world is dependent on reviews and ratings. Sellers on e-commerce platforms focus more on getting positive reviews and increasing the rating of their products to improve ranking and sales on the platforms. The sellers send inexpensive items in the package to different addresses they acquired through illegal sources. The package delivered to you is considered a sale from their store on the e-commerce platform. Writing a review of a product you never ordered sticks as a verified purchase. The entire act of sending packages with inexpensive items, rating on their names, and reviewing the products on e-commerce product pages is called Brushing Scam.
Sellers boost their ratings with such fraud means and increase their sales, thanks to fake verified purchase reviews. You might have observed the “Verified Purchase” tag in the reviews of products listed on Amazon. When you receive such a package, you become a verified purchaser, and the sellers write reviews in your name.
The brushing scams have been on the rise and have gone to the next level with the easily available data of thousands of people. They only need a few positive reviews to increase sales on the platforms.
Also read: How to Spot a Fake Shopping Website
How does Brushing Scam work?
A brushing scam involves the following acts:
- Get personal information of people from illegal means
- Create accounts using such information on their names
- Send inexpensive items to the addresses from their newly created accounts
- Post fake reviews under the product page after successful delivery
- Repeat the process with other people
What are the risks of Brushing Scam?
The brushing scam may appear as a no-harm act. But the scam works entirely on identity theft that is used to write a fake review. We might feel that you have got an item for free in the package, but little did we know that our information, along with our residence address or office address, is out with someone whom we don’t know. We do not know how they got your information. Your entire personal privacy is compromised. Someone may use your address for illegal activities. Also, a fake review on your name might induce people to buy products with fake reviews.
What to do if I receive a package that I didn’t order?
If you receive a package that you didn’t order, you need to do the following things:
- Contact the marketplace: Every marketplace or e-commerce platform has customer support helplines where you can report the package. They will investigate the matter and prevent the scam from happening again.
- Do not accept the package: Do not accept the package or pay any money for the package. Simply ask the delivery guy to return it to the seller.
- Report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission: Report the identity theft to the FTC so they can take action and prevent future frauds that may happen.
- Protect your accounts: It is not possible to know exactly what kind of information of yours is leaked. You need to protect your accounts by changing the passwords and enabling two-factor authentication.
- Monitor your bank accounts: Monitor your bank accounts and credit cards for a few months as the details might have been compromised. Report any fraudulent transactions to the bank and authorities.
Why did I receive an Amazon package that I didn’t order?
If you have received an Amazon package you did not order, check if the package was delivered as a gift from your family and friends. If it is not a gift, check your order history on Amazon. If you do not find it, report it to Amazon via customer care and give all the information you have on the package to them. They will take action against the seller and ban them from the marketplace. Do not pay for such packages in the first place.