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?
- A company packs the product it wants to sell under the e-commerce store banner where it has placed its products, such as Amazon.
- They enter your address and other credentials, which allow the website to register you as an authentic buyer.
- 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.
- Once the product reaches your hands, the e-commerce store marks the sale as a complete one.
- Having a verified customer on a product permits the seller, pretending to be “you”, to post a product review.
- The company then posts a fake positive review of the purchase.
- 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?
- Avoid posting your personal information everywhere, especially on the internet.
- Contact the e-commerce store if you feel your address is used for counterfeit activities.
- 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.