With the holidays coming up and Amazon packages always coming to your front door, it's easy to get scammed by this new tactic that seems harmless.  

You're used to phone, text, email, and even mail scams but what about packages? 

The United States Postal Inspection Service is warning people about Brushing which is a new tactic scammers use to send you free merchandise. Sounds great, right? I mean, who doesn’t like free stuff? However, it's more harmful than it sounds.  

Here’s How it Works: 

You get a free package with all of your info on it (your address, name, etc.), and it’s full of cheap goodies that you don’t remember ordering. There is either no return address or the address is that of a retailer.  

The purpose behind this is so that these retailers can write a fake review in your name for their products by making you a “verified buyer”. These retailers are usually third-party sellers who want to boost the ratings of their products and in turn, sales.  

Since the merchandise is usually cheap and low-cost to ship, the scammers perceive this as a profitable pay-off.”—USPIS 

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The main issue with this is now your personal information has been compromised since it was obtained illegally. Scammers also tend to use that info for other scams that you could fall victim to.  

What to do: 

  • Don’t Pay for it: You didn’t order it so don’t get talked into paying for it.  
  • Return it: If there is an address and you did not open the package, you’ll be able to return it to sender at no cost. 
  • Toss it: If you have opened it or there is no return address, simply throw it away. 
  • Keep it: If you want it, keep it. You can keep unsolicited merchandise (by law) without having to pay for it.  
  • Change your passwords since your account and personal information were compromised.  
  • Keep Watch: Keep a close eye on your credit cards and reports since scammers tend to use that information. 
  • Tell Authorities: If the products are an organic substance or unknown substance, tell the proper authorities and they will tell you how to proceed.  
  • Suspicious Content: If the contents seem suspicious follow the USPIS instructions on what to do next. 
  • Tell the Seller: If the package comes from some third-party seller like Amazon, notify them and file a fraud report. They can also help with getting those fake reviews under your name off the website.  


LOOK: The biggest scams today and how you can protect yourself from them

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