Amazon Prime day is steadily becoming a more and more notable summer event. The e-commerce giant introduced the back-to-school, summer sales event on their 20th anniversary in 2015, and 4 years later, has seen increased competition from both online and brick-and-mortar retailers.
According to a report from retailmenot.com, over 300 retailers offered competitive sales in 2019, which is significantly higher than the 194 in 2018. The Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, LLC., released a report stating that Amazon now has over 100 million prime customers.
With as much traffic, attention, and revenue this brings in, it’s no wonder that scammers are working overtime to come up with creative ways to cheat the system. Enter brushing, a scam with a twist where nothing (yet) is taken from the target. Actually it’s just the opposite, they get free stuff.
Reports of people getting Amazon packages filled with items they didn’t order, with a heavier number leading up to and following this year’s Prime Day, are popping up everywhere. The point of this particular scam is for Amazon sellers to not only show increased sales numbers by purchasing these items from their own stores under other customers’ names, but also to allow them to leave coveted verified reviews for their own products, also under other customers’ names.
Essentially the sellers get the name and address of a customer and are purchasing items as gifts for this customer. The customer isn’t charged for the product, but the seller now has a better chance of showing up in search results and shows much higher customer satisfaction, potentially swaying customers towards their products in the future. In fact, sales volume alone can drastically affect Amazon search placement.
While initially it may seem like the customer is #winning in this scam, there is plenty of cause for concern. Chances are, these customers’ private information, email address, physical address, name, and maybe more are on a list somewhere from a previous data breach. What else could that seller be doing with your information and what else could they have access to?
If you’ve been the “victim” of a brushing scam, now more than ever is a good time to monitor your credit activity, change relevant passwords, and contact the seller immediately. As annoying as it can be, we always encourage the use of a password manager and to practice responsible digital citizenship.
Stay safe out there.