Brushing Scam – What Is That?

Brushing Scam – What Is That?

(Last Updated On: July 2, 2022)

Brushing ScamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. – What Is That?

A person receives packages or parcels containing various sorts of items that were not ordered or requested!

A SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Insight Into How ScamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. Work

Unordered Product Parcel Scams

Free boxloads of merchandise from Amazon or other companies, right on your doorstep! What could possibly be bad about getting the Santa treatment all year long? Plenty!

What could be better than opening the mailbox or the front door and finding an unexpected package? We all love surprises and gifts, but when these seemingly harmless free items come from a company or retailer, they may come with a higher cost than you realize. Oftentimes, this kind of unsolicited merchandise is part of a larger brushing scam, which is illegal in the U.S. and many other countries.

This scam is called brushing, and it has been popping up all over the U.S. & Canada. Suddenly, boxes of unordered (by the recipient) merchandise from Amazon begin arriving. There is no return address, or sometimes it just appears to come from Amazon or another retailer, and the receiver has no idea who ordered the items. The items are varied. For example, in one case a humidifier, a hand warmer, a flashlight, a Bluetooth speaker and a computer vacuum cleaner arrived unordered. Often, the items received are lightweight and inexpensive to ship, such as ping pong balls, face masks or seeds from China.

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 that they discovered online.
  • 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.

This Is How It Works

A person receives packages or parcels containing various sorts of items that were not ordered or requested by the recipient. While the package may be addressed to the recipient, there is not a return address, or the return address could be that of a retailer. The sender of the item(s) is usually an international, third-party seller who has found the recipient’s address online. The intention is to give the impression that the recipient is a verified buyer who has written positive online reviews of the merchandise, meaning: they write a fake review in your name. These fake reviews help to fraudulently boost or inflate the products’ ratings and sales numbers, which they hope results in an increase of actual sales in the long run. Since the merchandise is usually cheap and low-cost to ship, the scammers perceive this as a profitable pay-off.

This Is Why It’s Bad

While it may appear to be a victimless crime—you did after all get some free stuff—the reality is that your personal information may be compromised. Often scammers obtain personal information through nefarious means and with ill intentions, and use it for a number of scams and other illicitillicit Illicit means something that is not legally permitted or authorized under the law; unlicensed; unlawful. It can also mean disapproved of or not permitted for moral or ethical reasons. activities in the future.

The fact that someone was able to have the items sent to you as if you purchased them indicates that they probably have some of your personal information such as your name, address, and possibly, your phone number. Once the information is out there on the internet, it could be used for numerous crooked enterprises.

Your fake review may prompt people to purchase worthless stuff.

In other instances, bad actors are using a person’s address and account information to receive merchandise and then steal it from the home before the resident is able to intercept it.

The fake online review angle is only one way they benefit. By using the brushing scam, they also are increasing their sales numbers. After all, they aren’t really purchasing the items, since the payment goes right back to them. Increased sales numbers, even though padded with fake purchases, look good for the company and help lead to more sales.

Porch Pirates

Then there is the “porch pirate” angle. There are instances where thieves use other people’s mailing addresses and accounts, then watch for the delivery of the package so they can steal it from the door before the resident gets it.


This Is What To Do

Follow the tips below to keep your personal information safe and be aware of what to do in the event you receive unsolicited merchandise.

  • Don’t pay for the merchandise – Do not be swindled or talked into paying for it.
  • Return to senderIf marked with a return address, and it is UNOPENED, you may mark it “RETURN TO SENDER” and USPS will return it at no charge to you.
  • Throw it awayIf you opened it, and do not wish to keep it, you may simply dispose of it in the garbage, as long as it is safe to do so.
  • Keep itIf you opened it and you like it, you may keep it. By U.S. law, you may keep unsolicited merchandise and are under no obligation to pay for it.
  • Change your account passwordsYour personal information may have been compromised.
  • Closely monitorClosely monitor your credit reports and credit card bills.
  • Notify authoritiesIf the merchandise is organic (i.e., seeds, food, plants) or an unknown liquid or substance, notify the proper authorities (local police and FBIFBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud.) and follow their instructions.
  • Suspicious contentsIf you are wary of the contents inside an unsolicited package, please follow the instructions on our U.S. Postal Inspector ‘s SUSPICIOUS MAIL page.
  • Notify the retailerIf unsolicited merchandise arrives from Amazon, eBay, or another third-party seller, go to that company’s website and file a fraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. report. Ask the company to remove any fake reviews under your name.

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This program is designed to help scam victims struggling to recover on their own and for those who want to understand the overall process. You can be using other resources, such as traumaTrauma Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety or other emotional shocks, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized. Trauma requires treatment, either through counseling or therapy or through trauma-oriented support programs, such as those offered by SCARS. counselingCounseling Counseling is the professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes. A mental health counselor (MHC), or counselor, is a person who works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. Such persons may help individuals deal with issues associated with addiction and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging. They may also work with "Social Workers", "Psychiatrists", and "Psychologists". SCARS does not provide mental health counseling. or therapy, qualified support groupsSupport Groups In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help, usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, for a particular shared, usually burdensome, characteristic, such as romance scams. Members with the same issues can come together for sharing coping strategies, to feel more empowered and for a sense of community. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. A support group may also work to inform the public or engage in advocacy. They can be supervised or not. SCARS support groups are moderated by the SCARS Team and or volunteers., or completely independent – on your own!

The SCARS Steps program is a complete program and is provided for the purpose of helping scam victims to overcome this experience. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues and challenges that a victim may have and help guide them through their recovery. But each person is different and it is important to understand your own reasons for being vulnerable to being scammed.

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This SCARS Publishing book represents a complete guide to help the families and friends understand how these scams work and how to help the victim.

The SCARS Slate Book should be purchased by family and friends to better understand what happened to the victim and the traumatic impact on them. But it can also be shared by the victim so that they do not have to explain to family and friends about the scam. This publication is to help others to help Scam Victims to make it through this traumatic experience and recover.

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