Saturday, July 11, 2020

Getting the Brush-off

Hardly anyone gets by online these days without being "phished" by scammers. A growing number of online shoppers are now being hit by another, newer, scam: "brushing". This one works in connection with Amazon. It's not a brand new scam, possibly around 3 years old in fact, but an increased amount shopping online recently might have encouraged more of this type of scamming.

I was hit by, what I now know is, the brushing scam on Friday. A big box, from Amazon, lay on our porch, along with a couple of smaller packages which I was expecting. Maybe this is something I've forgotten about, pre-ordered, or whatever, thought I. Inside the box were two humidifiers.

"Did you order two humidifiers in my name?" I yelled to husband.

"No - why would I? We bought some in Walmart a few months ago."


Eventually, after considering various possibilities, I Googled a relevant question, then all became clear. There's much online about the scam of "brushing". Here are a few lines from one (linked) article explaining how it works - with

Free box-loads of merchandise from Amazon right on your doorstep! What could possibly be bad about getting the Santa treatment all year long? Plenty! Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers that there is a scary downside to this recent scam. You are not the one who hit the jackpot. A scam company is the real winner.

This scam is known as brushing, and it has been popping up all over the country. Suddenly boxes of unordered (by the recipient) merchandise from Amazon begin arriving. There is no return address except that of Amazon. The receiver has no idea who ordered the items. They are varied. For example, in one case a humidifier, a hand warmer, a flashlight, a Bluetooth speaker and a computer vacuum cleaner arrived unordered.

Why would such merchandise be sent to you if you didn’t request it? The companies, usually foreign, third-party sellers that are sending the items are simply using your address and your Amazon information. Their intention is to make it appear as though you wrote a glowing online review of their merchandise, and that you are a verified buyer of that merchandise. They then post a fake, positive review to improve their products’ ratings, which means more sales for them. The payoff is highly profitable from their perspective.

Why it’s bad news for you..........
(read on at the link above)
I've taken advice given: notified Amazon's Customer Service, by e-mail, changed my password at Amazon, and elsewhere. I have not been charged for the humidifiers (yet!) We'll see what, if anything, happens next. I sincerely hope this will be a one-off brush-off for me. According to others reporting online, though, the scam can go on for weeks and months, with regular deliveries of scammed Amazon parcels.


Anonymous said...

"They" obviously don't know that you can have all the humidity you could ever want by opening your front door - the fools.

anyjazz said...

Still hare for me to understand how anyone could make money doing this. Must be SOME upside for them that I don't understand

Wisewebwoman said...

This is new to me, T. Never heard of it and humidifiers are so expensive as a toss-off to a potential review?? It makes no sense at all.

I couldn't find the additional link for more information.


Twilight said...

Anonymous ~ Yes, indeedy! :)

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~ The upside, as I understand it, is to bring the items involved higher up Amazon's scale of positioning, seeming that they have sold more and fake reviews in the victims' names will be glowing and marked "by a verified buyer". Seems a bit of an iffy and long distance advantage to me, too.

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman - Oh! Sorry if the link on the word "brushing" didn't work for you (the colour doesn't show up well on some screens - here's the actual link:

Anonymous said...

Today was your appt for results...hope it was good news.