It may seem innocent enough if a random package from Amazon or some other retailer shows up on your porch, but it may mean you've become a victim of a scam known as 'brushing.'

A recent post on Davison's Friendly Community Facebook page indicates that one area resident may have fallen prey to the scam. Numerous comments indicated that the best course of action was to contact the merchant, which in this case was Amazon.

According to the Better Business Bureau, Brushing is typically carried out by companies, usually third-party foreign sellers, that send out packages to addresses that have been harvested from the internet. The intention is to make it look like the recipient of the merchandise has written a favorable review online.

The BBB outlines how this can be bad news for you:

  • First, the fact that a package showed up at your door probably indicates that these companies have personal information like your name, address, and maybe your phone number. When this information is on the internet, it could lead to other nefarious activities.
  • And, it could lead to 'porch pirating.' Thieves use other people's accounts and addresses, watch for deliveries, and steal packages before residents are able to retrieve them.

So what can you do to protect yourself? The BBB recommends these actions:

  • First, report the suspicious package to the retailer. Many companies like Amazon take security and false reviews very seriously. They will investigate and take action against bad actors. Go directly to Amazon's customer service department through their website in order to avoid fake customer service.
  • Next, change your account passwords.

According to the Better Business Bureau, you can keep the packages. The Federal Trade Commission says you have a legal right to keep unordered merchandise.

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