UNITED STATES—On August 3, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) released an article titled “‘Brushing’ Scam Indicates a Serious Problem for Victims.”
This article is in reference to a recently popularized scamming fad, “Brushing,” in which unordered items are shipped from Amazon to an individual’s doorstep.
The merchandise, arriving from Amazon or another retailer with no return address, has ranged from a “a humidifier, a hand warmer, a flashlight, a Bluetooth speaker, and a computer vacuum cleaner,” according to the BBB.
While receiving these items may feel to the recipient like they have “hit the jackpot,” the BBB explains how the implications of this free merchandising is not lottery-excitement worthy.
Essentially, once these items are sent, the scam company posts a fraudulent review for their item, noting that the recipient is a verified buyer, in hopes of improving their product’s rating and increasing their sales.
Given that these items were sent to an address, targeted individuals can assume some of their personal information (name, address, email, phone number) is somewhere publicly on the internet.
The BBB says, “Once the information is out there on the internet, it could be used for numerous crooked enterprises.”
There are two recommended steps to take once an unordered package has been received.
Firstly, the retailer should be notified. The BBB explains that Amazon’s customer service is very proactive in investigating and taking action against the scamming companies.
Secondly, change account passwords. Having been sent these packages could be a sign that the individual’s personal information is in the public domain, so BBB recommends to stay cautious and to change passwords and keep an eye on credit card bills.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, individuals are legally allowed to keep these packages.
However, in light of the recent seed scandal, in which people in the US and Canada received unsolicited seeds from China, the BBB recommends limited contact with any items where origins are unknown.