What is a brushing scam? Everything you should know about the Amazon scam. Online media reports have said that some residents of Toronto have received mystery mail packages of things they had not ordered online. The recipients remained confused about the origin of the boxes, with some even thinking it could be a gift from a loved one who had forgotten to write a card.
However, the truth was far from that. These mystery packages, most of which contain cheap electronic goods or other inexpensive items, were part of a new type of scam called the ‘Brushing scam’.
What is brushing scam?
A brushing scam exploits a vendor used to bolster product ratings and increase visibility online by shipping an inexpensive product to an unwitting receiver and then submitting positive reviews on the receiver’s behalf under the guise of a verified owner. Vendors on popular sites like Amazon and other e-commerce websites use the scam to increase visibility for their stores and drive further sales.
While brushing scams are not as dangerous as some of the other cons, the main concern is a breach of data since the scammer has your information and can assume your identity.
Most scam victims reported that they received the packages after they had shopped for some items from smaller sellers or sellers originating from other countries. Some others said they had no clue how the scammers got hold of their information.
Companies like Amazon have said they are aware of the scam and are taking measures to prevent it. In a brushing scam, the scammer uses your identity to post positive feedback for goods. Goods that you have supposedly bought from them to give their online store better visibility and online credibility.
Customers remain wary about buying things from small stores online. Reading positive reviews could give them more confidence to purchase from sellers they may not have considered buying from, especially if the items are inexpensive and cheaper than locally available stores.
Since receiving many reviews with five-star ratings is not easy to come by, small sellers write their reviews using the identity of their targets. Amazon will only let them write the reviews if the items are sold to the person, and hence, the seller ships the goods over to the potential scam victim.
The sellers don’t mind losing some of their stock to get good reviews and makeup with good sales later.
Some people don’t seem to mind being victims of this scam. Since they are receiving free goodies and their credit cards and bank accounts remain safe; and these items they are receiving aren’t technically stolen or illegal items. It’s essential to remember that the scammer can still use your information for other purposes.
So if you receive some free goodies by mail, remember that Christmas has not come early. A scammer out there has access to your home address and other information.