If you have ever received a package in the mail that you did not order, you may be a victim of a scam known as "brushing."
On-line retailers who want to boost the reviews of their products will purchase an item - usually a low-cost product - have it sent to a random individual, then submit a glowing review of the product or the business.
One woman in Canada reports she has received a dog pool, a dog nail trimmer, a smartwatch, phone charging cords, and other items. These products do not show up in her order history, but did show up at her door.
Retail industry researchers confirm that most shoppers look to product reviews to make their shopping decisions, so they are not surprised by the scam. However, a spokesperson from the Better Business Bureau advises victims of the scam to take it seriously because it is a sign that personal information is being misused.
Although the victim is not responsible to return the products delivered, one online retailer, Amazon, asks that customers report any package they receive but did not order. The retailer's website states that it "takes action" against those who engaged in "brushing".
Experts also advise victims to take security precautions, like changing passwords for any online account that involves payment processing, as well as banking accounts. In addition, victims should keep a careful watch over their bank and credit card statements, and obtain and review your credit report. Jason Vermes "Got an unexpected package? It could be part of a brushing scam" www.cbc.ca (Jan. 22, 2022).