Have you ever had a delivery guy knock on your door and wonder if there’s yet another package you impulsively added to the cart and then forgot about? Well, you might be receiving a product you never ordered. Instead of it being the delivery website’s fault, it’s likely that you might be a part of a brushing scam.

What is a Brushing Scam?

 A brushing scam is when someone delivers unmarked, mysterious packages to your doorstep without asking for a payment. The website from where you have allegedly received the product gets a review of the said product under your name — again, not initially provided by you. In a nutshell, it’s a form of identity theft in the e-commerce world. Like mail frauds and ghost sellers, brushing scams are another activity that can potentially stir up quite a bit of trouble in the buyer and seller community of any website.

 How Do Brushing Scams Work?

To keep their products on a specific seller website or community, increase their profit margin or avail other perks, a brand might need a certain number of sales and positive reviews. However, when these sellers aren’t receiving many sales or encouraging feedback, they might fake their sales and reviews. How does this happen?

  1. A company packs the product it wants to sell under the e-commerce store banner where it has placed its products, such as Amazon.
  2. They enter your address and other credentials, which allow the website to register you as an authentic buyer.
  3. If the store has a verification system through email or phone numbers, the counterfeiting company may also use fake addresses and numbers to cover up the scam.
  4. Once the product reaches your hands, the e-commerce store marks the sale as a complete one.
  5. Having a verified customer on a product permits the seller, pretending to be “you”, to post a product review.
  6. The company then posts a fake positive review of the purchase.
  7. With enough positive reviews, bulk sales and multiple restocking rounds, the company ends up with a more robust ranking in the e-commerce world.

Do Brushing Scams Occur Often?

 It’s hard to tell for sure. Indeed, a wrongly delivered product isn’t always a result of a scam. Delivery service mess-ups, wrong delivery addresses and other mistakes from buyers and sellers in the e-commerce industry might also end up with you getting stuck with a product you never ordered.

Still, with the increase in both activity across the internet, there’s always a high chance of the delivery being a brushing scam.

Suppose you’re wondering whether you’ve fallen victim to a brushing scam or not. In that case, it’s safe to check out the product because the Federal Trade Commission grants consumers the right to use a product with a completed delivery process even if the sender hasn’t charged a fee. So, if the product is cheap, lightweight, expired or has any other fishy characteristics, it’s most probably a scam. Lightweight products are the most common scam trades because they don’t cost that much in delivery.

How Do I Avoid a Brushing Scam?

  1.  Avoid posting your personal information everywhere, especially on the internet.
  2. Contact the e-commerce store if you feel your address is used for counterfeit activities.
  3. Try to change your passwords and other security information frequently to keep data breaches at bay.

 A brushing scam may not seem like much of a threat. However, it also means your address and other information are in the hands of potential criminals and hackers, making it essential to protect your identity and other personal data.