Free, unsolicited stuff in the mail -- Is there any reason to worry?

KMBZ News Staff
July 23, 2019 - 6:19 am

William Thomas Cain - Getty Images News


There is a term for the practice of shipping merchandise to homes where the people did not order anything.

It's called brushing. A third-party vendor through a site like Amazon has your name and address, and orders their own stuff, sent to you. 

The purpose is simple. Once the purchase is made, the seller can leave a positive review, in theory, paving the way for more money to be made. Positive reviews are very valuable on retail sites.

"The ultimate motivation is to get a good review for the product onto Amazon," said Brian Kilcourse, a retail security expert. "The more positive reviews you get, the more likely you're going to get sales for that product."

Some people receive lots of free merchandise, which confuses some.

"We get these packages, one after another, and I'm going, that's nice, someone though maybe I needed a foot massager?" said a local man, when asked by KMBZ. 

The concern comes in what data is floating out there about you. After all, if someone has your name and address, what else do they know about you? 

The primary victims are not the people who are bombarded with stuff they haven't ordered, it's the people who buy products with reviews that are artificially boosted, Kilcourse said.

Still, he says the primary victims aren't the people being bombarded with stuff they didn't order - it's people who ultimately buy a product with reviews that are artificially boosted.

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