Package Delivery Scam May Get You Later
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.