Have you ever received something you didn’t remember ordering from Amazon? Or, have you seen people on the internet talking about receiving mysterious packages? Be careful. Brushing scams are on the rise again!
What is a brushing scam?
Brushing scams, or review scams, are what scammers use to get lots of fake positive comments on their product listings by sending people ghost packages without their consent. Brushing scams happen on online marketplaces like Amazon and Best Buy.
First, they gain access to your leaked personal information (like your address, for example) from data breaches or after a phishing scam. That’s how they know where to send the packages (normally the items inside are exceptionally cheap).
By pulling off these scams, they can create a flood of 5-star reviews with glowing comments for their products, making them seem much more attractive to potential buyers. In short, they make use of these ghost purchase records to boost their online store’s reputation.
What are the concerns?
Scammers can only send you packages after they’ve got your home address, but it is also possible that they’ve managed to get their hands on other data like your Social Security number, credit card information, or other banking details.
They can use the data to commit identity theft and other cybercrimes – to open a bank account in your name, to clone your credit card, or even to take over and empty your bank account!
How to protect yourself from brushing scams
- Change your passwords and check the security status of your online accounts. If you think your account has been compromised or hacked by scammers, you should set up a new account.
- Check your financial statements regularly to see if there are any suspicious activities and contact your bank immediately if so.
- Report the retailer/online shop to Amazon / Best Buy. Contact customer service directly and let them investigate the issue. Also file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), or Better Business Bureau (BBB).
- It is best to not accept packages you didn’t order. However, according to the FTC, you have the right to keep the goods.
A helping hand from Trend Micro
Without data leaks, brushing scams wouldn’t be possible. They’re how scammers obtain people’s personal information. To save yourself from having your personal data accessible to scammers on the internet and the dark web, try Trend Micro ID Security! It includes:
- Dark Web Personal Data Manager — Checks if personal data such as your bank account information, driver’s license number, Social Security number, and passport information has been put online or on the dark web.
- Email and Password Checker — If Trend Micro™ ID Security finds your email addresses or password have been leaked, it will tell you exactly which accounts were compromised so you know which passwords to change.
- Credit Card Checker — Know if someone has stolen your credit card number and leaked it.
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