BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – It may not sound like much of a scam at first – getting free stuff in the mail from Amazon – but one Boulder woman inundated with packages she didn’t order says it’s a major invasion of privacy.
“In this case, a little package for me shows up, and I’m thinking to myself, well, I don’t think I ordered anything from Amazon Prime because I don’t have an account,” said Anita Schumann.
Inside the package was a charger for a MacBook Air. She knew she didn’t place the order because she doesn’t own a MacBook Air so she contacted Amazon.
“They basically said, ‘it’s a present just keep it!’ and when I asked them who was sending it to me they said, ‘that information is confidential.’”
Three days later, Schumann received another package. Another charger for a MacBook Air. Then a fourth package, and a few days later a fifth package.
Schumann was the proud owner of two MacBook Air chargers, eco-friendly drinking straws and a sport band for her cell phone. None of which she ordered.
Each time she inquired with Amazon, she said all the company could tell her was that it was looking into it.
“It’s just alarming to me that somebody out there has my contact information and just arbitrarily sends me these things,” Schumann continued. “Somewhere out there, someone has my full name, my address and they are finding a way to send packages to me.”
Schumann discovered for herself, this was a scam and people were being targeted across the country. The scam is known as “brushing.” An online seller – usually overseas – purchases their own products through fake buyer accounts they’ve created. The products are shipped to a real address. Then, the seller writes a positive review of their items from the fake buyer account.
“It’s deceiving to the public to think that they’re getting good ratings because they do good service, when they’re really rating themselves.”
Schumann said she was able to confront a delivery person who told her he would take the package back and mark it as undeliverable. That was after she had received a fifth package. She says she hasn’t had a problem since, but is still on edge.
“I still don’t know where it came from, and Amazon wasn’t helping me figure it out so I still feel like it might start up again at some point.”
In a statement to CBS4, Amazon said they investigate every report of customers receiving unsolicited packages and will ban all vendors and reviewers who abuse the reviews system.