What Is A Brushing Scam?

If you receive items or packages that you never ordered, you may be the victim of a brushing scam. Brushing scams are illegal in the United States and many other countries. While you may enjoy the surprise of receiving items that you weren’t expecting, brushing scams may be a symptom of identity theft. If you receive packages you weren’t expecting, there are a few steps that you might want to consider taking.

What Is a Brushing Scam?

A brushing scam is a term that refers to receiving parcels or packages that you did not order. There are a variety of reasons why bad actors set up brushing scams. One reason can be to artificially inflate product reviews on online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. The seller ships their product to you at their cost.

This is especially true if the item in question doesn’t cost that much and is light and inexpensive to ship. Brushing is fraudulent and illegal in the United States and many other countries.

Why is a Brushing scam bad?

If you receive items you didn’t purchase as part of a brushing scam, you may wonder what the big deal is.  You might enjoy getting these items or find them useful. As with many other types of fraud and scams, the facts of the matter are a bit more complicated.

Brushing scams can often be an indicator of identity theft or the compromise of your account credentials. In some instances, scammers may use your account information and address to order and receive merchandise.

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Hit By A Brushing Scam?

If you have received unsolicited items and suspect you might have been the target of a brushing scam, here are a few things that the United States Postal Inspection Service suggests you can do:

  • Do not pay for the merchandise; sellers may contact you and use high-pressure tactics to try and get you to pay for it.
  • Return the items to the sender; if the package is unopened, you can mark it as “Return to Sender,” and the postal service will return it to the sender at no charge.
  • Change your account passwords. Look through your online accounts and make sure that you have secure passwords that you change regularly.
  • Monitor your credit report—take advantage of a free credit report to make sure there are no unexpected or inaccurate entries.

Can I keep the items?

The Federal Trade Commission has stated that you are not required to pay for unsolicited items, and you may keep them if you want.  If you feel that any items you received may be dangerous or overly suspicious, you can always contact your local

The Bottom Line

A brushing scam is a type of fraudulent activity where scammers might send you unsolicited items or packages. . It can be a good idea to monitor your credit report or change your online account security information.


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