Couple who keeps getting Amazon packages may be falling prey to ‘brushing’ scheme

U.S. & World

ACTON, MA (WCMH) — One after another, the packages keep coming.

Kelly and Mike Gallivan say they started arriving in October. Now, they come twice a week. The packages show up with no invoices and no return name or address. Even does not know who is sending them.

“We didn’t order this stuff, we really don’t want this stuff and we really want this to stop!” Michael said.

“And we’ve gotten no help from Amazon,” Kelly added.

Strangely, they’re not even being charged.

E-commerce experts say the Gallivans may be victims of a scam called “brushing.”

Vendors, often overseas, pay someone to use gift cards to buy merchandise, then ship it to a legitimate name and address.

Once it arrives, the phantom buyer (often the vendor) writes a glowing review on Amazon or other e-commerce sites.

“The ultimate motivation is to get a good review for the product on Amazon,” said e-commerce tech analyse Brian Kilcourse.

“And the more positive reviews you get, the more likely you’re going to get sales from that product.”

The reviews can mean big money. Amazon says it found few fake reviews associated with the shipments, and it “will ban all vendors and reviewers who abuse the reviews system.”

“I don’t even know what to do with half this stuff,” Kelly said.

The Gallivans have asked for Amazon’s help to stop the deliveries.

And now, they’re far less likely to believe those five-star online customer reviews.

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