A new wave of scams is hitting Amazon customers, and it’s leaving many confused. Customers everywhere are reporting Amazon deliveries they never ordered suddenly showing up on their doorstep. “What could be so bad about free stuff from Amazon?”, you may ask yourself. Turns out, you may be a victim of identity theft.
Shady and unscrupulous sellers are sending items to random customers, using their name, address, and phone number, to artificially inflate their sales numbers and leave glowing reviews of their products. The unwitting victim gets “free” merchandise, and the seller gets a great “verified” review. The downside is that if these sketchy sellers have your name and address, there’s no telling what other info they have — or what other info of yours is out there.
So, how do you protect yourself against this scam, dubbed “brushing”? First, contact Amazon to alert them of the seller’s actions. Most orders will have at least some indication of who the original seller is, and Amazon does not take these reports of fraudulent activity lightly. Next, change your account passwords. The seller(s) may not have your password, but it’s possible that it was exposed in a data breach somewhere else. Better safe than sorry!
Privacy tip: Take a look at our guide to creating and storing the best passwords.
The one upside to all this is that you get to keep whatever merchandise was sent to you. It’s totally legal, according to the Federal Trade Commission in the United States and in Canadian provinces such as Alberta.