Live 5 Scambusters: Brushing up on brushing scams

Updated: Aug. 6, 2020 at 6:49 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Warnings are popping up across the country about a scam that may sound like Christmas.

Boxes and envelopes, addressed to the resident, arrive filled with merchandise no one ordered. The package could contain electronics or masks. In July, people reported receiving random bags of seeds sent from China.

Bailey Parker with South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs says this is really part of a scam called Brushing. It’s likely the products were sent to fake Amazon or eBay accounts using your name and address.

“They’re going to use your name to create a 5-star review on a site like Amazon or eBay,” Parker said.

These fake orders could be used to help boost the company’s sales. The company uses your name and information and that could be considered a form of identity theft.

“It’s not necessarily going to end up on your credit report if you have a package that you didn’t expect to show up on your doorstep,” Parker said. “It’s something to be aware of, especially if it’s something like seeds. You don’t just want to go plant those.”

You are legally allowed to keep any merchandise sent to you by mail, but if you feel uncomfortable you could take the package back to the shipping company.

Report any activity like this to the retailer’s customer service department. You may want to change your passwords and run a credit check just in case.

If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at

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