Now that commerce has made an even harder right turn to online shopping since the pandemic started a year ago, online retailers have had to work hard to achieve or maintain positive seller reviews. Even if that means scamming the system.
Have you received an item in the mail that you didn’t order? Usually something inexpensive and light (in order to keep the scammer’s costs down). You could be a part of what’s being called a “brushing” scam.
How It Works
Unethical sellers need to boost their seller ratings so that their online business can grow or continue to thrive. Apparently, their real products and service levels aren’t generating such great reviews. So, they need to get creative. Online marketplaces like Amazon have systems in place to block the old traditional routes of having all your friends buy your products and leave glowing reviews. So, they have to go elsewhere.
Sellers create fake accounts and then send “gifts” to random people who’s address they can verify online. But you don’t get the good stuff they are selling – oh no! They just need to ship something to generate the tracking number (confirming the seller “shipped” the item). Instead, you receive a lightweight, practically empty feeling package containing a super cheap item. Or sometimes you actually do receive an empty package.
On the other end, the seller is writing away all the reviews for the products never shipped, never actually sold. Their reviews get a boost and usually do their sales. But do we want to give our business to these slimeballs? That have to cheat their way to positive reviews?
Back to you holding this empty package/bag at your house.
Don’t worry, your bank accounts didn’t get hacked, your Amazon account didn’t get hacked (usually), they just used you for your shipping address and corresponding name. It’s possible though, if you order alot from Amazon (like I do!) that you might think that the empty package was supposed to be your eagerly awaited legitimate order, and now you are mad at an honest business that did nothing of the sort.
Facebook also gets pulled in as sellers create Facebook groups looking for people that they can pay to create fake reviews. Online sales are only going to continue to grow…as are the new tactics invented to inflate reviews.