Package Delivery Scam May Get You Later

Published On July 16, 2021 | By Tom Huskerson | News and Analysis, Now You Know

If it’s not one scam its another. The latest scam goes by three different names and it may get you later but not always right now.  Its called the package delivery scam or the fake review scam or the Brushing scam. Pick one. But first a little advice for some of you who might think you got lucky; if you receive a package you did not order  and it does not have your name and address on it; IT IS NOT YOURS TO KEEP! Don’t have the cops show up to make this point!

Now for the scam. Cyber security experts along with the Federal Trade Commission are warning consumers of this latest scam and its really interesting because you don’t lose any money or information…right away. This scam is about creating fake reviews for products online. Known as the “brushing scam” people are receiving a package at their door with odd things like toiletries, sunglasses, baby products etc.

Now lets talk about how it works. Third-party sellers using online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay are either writing their own fake reviews or paying people to write fake, positive reviews about their products. Now the “brushers” step in.  “Brushers” need to make it appear that a legitimate transaction took place. “Brushers” use a fake account to place orders and send the product a random person and address they find online. Then, instead of actually mailing the item for which they want to post a review, the “brushers” will send a cheap, often lightweight item that costs less to ship.

Sending these products to random people creates a tracking number, and when the package is delivered, it allows “brushers” to write a verified review. Verified because the package was delivered. If a package shows up at your door, with no return address containing a cheap product that is worthless then you’re on the receiving end of this weird scam.  Receivers of the products usually aren’t charged for the purchase and your real account isn’t hacked. But you will be wondering who keeps sending you dish sponges and cheap lip balm! But this is not always the case some consumer receive some interesting but often cheap knock off products. Consumer have reported receiving briefcases, a backpack, a hair straightener and a coffee-cup warmer.

Nothing bad can really happen to you…unless. The scam’s real damage occurs after a buyer purchases a product online after reading glowing reviews only to discover they have purchased junk and can’t get a refund from the retailer. That’s the real scam. Theses brushing scam can be extremely difficult to detect and that leaves companies like Amazon and Ebay in a bad spot.

Amazon says its policy prohibits sellers sending unsolicited merchandise to customers, and sellers can be  barred from the site for doing so. “Third-party sellers are prohibited from sending unsolicited packages to customers and we take action on those who violate our policies, including withholding payments, suspending or removing selling privileges, or working with law enforcement,” an Amazon spokesperson said in an email. Amazon would not say how how many brushing scams have been found on the site or how many sellers have been removed due to these scams.

Everybody needs to be aware of fake reviews, even verified reviews,  when shopping online.

Now you know.


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About The Author

Tom Huskerson Bio Born in Richmond Virginia Tom Huskerson is a military veteran who settled in California after his discharge. Tom attended Santa Barbara City College where he began his writing career as a campus reporter. He worked as an intern news reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press writing feature stories before moving on to San Francisco. At San Francisco State University Tom studied broadcast communications and began to focus on the Internet. He completed his graduate thesis on Internet advertising. Tom was the first student to ever focus on the Internet as a graduate student at San Francisco State University. After graduation he went to work for Zona Research in California’s Silicone Valley. As a research associate Tom supported senior analyst writing on the latest developments in the Internet industry. During the dot com boom Tom worked for several web businesses as a market researcher and analyst. As a writer and researcher Tom has authored various technical works including a training program for Charles Schwab security. Other projects included professional presentations on workplace violence and hiring security contractors. Tom has also written both fiction and non-fiction works and blogging for a travel website. He has published two books of short stories and completed two novels. Tom is the owner of Scribe of Life Literature and Tom is not the chief editor for the OnTechStreet. com. A news and information blog that focuses on tech news for African-Americans. The blog is the result of his desire to inform the African American community of the dangers and benefits of the cyber age. In his blog Tom reports on information security, new and analysis, scams and hoaxes, legal happenings and various topics that arise from the age of information. Tom believes that technology is a necessary tool for black people and they should know what is happening. Tom writes believing that techno speak is for the professional and that valuable information can be communicated using plain language. As a result he has embraced the motto, Less Tech, More Knowledge.

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