Here’s how it works:
A person receives a package or packages that contain various items that were not ordered or requested by the recipient. The package is typically addressed to the recipient but there’s no return address or the return address is an unfamiliar retailer. The sender is usually an international, third-party seller who has probably found the recipient’s address online.
The sender’s intention is to give the impression the recipient is a verified buyer who has written positive online reviews of the merchandise, resulting in fake posts written in the recipient’s name. The fake reviews help to fraudulently boost or inflate the products’ ratings and sales numbers, giving the company greater validity.
Since the merchandise is usually cheap – or even worthless – it’s an inexpensive tradeoff for the company.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service said while brushing may seem like a victimless crime, the reality is your personal identification may already be compromised. Often scammers obtain personal information through nefarious means and with ill intentions, USPIS warns, and use it for a number of scams and other illicit activities.
In some cases, the senders also use the person’s address and account information to receive merchandise and then steal it from a home before the resident receives it. Or, at the very least, your fake review can prompt people to purchase worthless stuff and, possibly, expose their personal information.