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Homeowners sent free Amazon parcels in ‘brushing’ scams

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 15/07/2022 Charlotte Gifford
amazon parcel - Kim Kirby/LOOP IMAGES © Kim Kirby/LOOP IMAGES amazon parcel - Kim Kirby/LOOP IMAGES

Homeowners are being deluged with parcels through an Amazon scam carried out by Chinese sellers. 

Some people have received hundreds of unsolicited deliveries in “brushing scams” after their addresses and personal data was taken by sellers using Amazon. The complicated scam does not financially affect the recipients. 

However, it allows Amazon-based sellers to artificially inflate their sales and ratings on the website. This gives them faux credence and enables them to sell potentially low quality or counterfeit goods, tricking other consumers. 

Katherine Hart, from Cupar in Scotland, said she was deluged with Amazon parcels which she had not ordered. She said: “One was a coat, very cheaply made. 

Another was some dog supplies – and I don’t own a dog.” Ms Hart, who works for the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and is an expert on scams, became concerned her data had become compromised and contacted the website who confirmed she had been part of a brushing scam

Last year, consumer association Which? estimated that more than one million people had received unsolicited Amazon packages. Ms Hart added that while receiving free things was seemingly a positive, it was not a victimless crime. 

“It causes a lot of angst for the individual,” she said. “They are trying to work out why these packages are arriving and, more importantly, who has their personal data.”   

People have wasted time rejecting hundreds of parcels they’ve been sent, she added. Amazon said sending unsolicited parcels is prohibited in its terms and conditions. 

However, the company can suspend and remove sellers that are caught or reported, however, scammers can simply create a new account. 

An Amazon spokesman added: “Brushing affects all online marketplaces. We have robust processes in place and we are relentless in our efforts to detect and prevent abuse from impacting customer experiences. 

“We’ll continue to take the appropriate actions, including support for legal enforcement, withholding payments, and suspending or removing selling privileges. If customers have received unsolicited packages, we encourage them to report this to our customer services team so that we can investigate and take the appropriate actions.” 

The rise in online shopping has led to an explosion in delivery and parcel scams. Delivery and parcel fraud now make up 57pc of all scam texts in the UK, according to UK Finance. 

Have you been a victim of 'brushing' scams? Share your experience with us in the comments section below

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