PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Have you recently received a package in the mail that you didn’t order?
While having free merchandise sent to your house may sound enticing, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) says it’s not something you should be excited about.
The BBB’s Paula Fleming tells 12 News those who receive unexpected packages may have fallen victim to what’s described as a “brushing scheme.”
“It’s just package after package arriving,” Fleming said. “It’s the right name, it’s the right address, but the packages that were never ordered by the customer.”
Fleming said the scheme is a way for companies to create phony reviews on their products in an effort to boost sales.
“Whether it’s a scam artist that is sending it or a business that’s trying to get customer reviews, or get you to comment on their product, either way is wrong and it’s frustrating for consumers,” Fleming said.
Mikayla Bennett tells 12 News she received a package filled with sports drinks last year around the holidays.
“It struck me as very odd,” Benett said. “It did come from Amazon, it looked just like a regular package.”
Bennett said she didn’t order the sports drinks, and she hasn’t received another since.
“I contacted Amazon,” she recalled. “I was on the phone with them and they said I may receive more packages, but to just disregard it or accept it if I would like.”
Following that conversation, Bennett said she threw the package out and contacted police.
Fleming said most of these mystery packages are coming from Amazon.
Amazon’s website states that third-party sellers are prohibited from sending unsolicited packages to customers, and customers who receive them should report it.
Fleming said there’s been an uptick of reports of customers receiving packages they didn’t order in New England.
“One case recently, we had here Massachusetts, was a customer that received over 20 packages and was having a very difficult time to stop receiving the packages,” she said. “They had to shut down their entire Amazon account.”
If you receive an unexpected package, Fleming said there are a couple of steps you should take. First, she said you should change your Amazon password.
“This may be a sign that personal information has been compromised. It can improve account security if you do change your password immediately,” Fleming said.
Fleming also urged people to report the delivery to Amazon’s Fraudulent Purchases Department.
Once those steps are taken, she said it’s up to the individual to determine whether they want to keep the product or throw it away.