Mysterious Amazon packages linked to review-boosting scam, BBB warns

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The packages seem to come from nowhere.Or maybe you think it was sent only by mistake – the wrong address.

But if you received a mysterious Amazon package that you didn’t order, it’s likely that it was part of a “brushing” scam, says the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Across Canada, people are starting to receive surprise packages on their doorstep from the retail giant, not knowing who ordered the item. There is no return address except Amazon’s, according to the BBB.

The Better Business Bureau focuses on market confidence and operates a scam tracker, based on reports of possible scams.

When it comes to mystery packaging, people got everything from a humidifier, hand warmer, flashlight and bluetooth speaker to a computer vacuum cleaner.

How it works

Shawna-Kay Thomas, BBB external communications specialist for southern Alberta, told CBC Eyeopener de Calgary that this is a magazine stimulation tactic.

Often, a foreign third-party seller will use people’s addresses and Amazon information to ship packages.

Once the scammers purchased the package through someone else’s account, they then leave rave reviews for the products in the hacked account, making the scammers’ products look more legitimate.

“They make a sum of it… we know that before people buy most things these days, they look at reviews and reviews influence their buying decision,” Thomas said.

You don’t necessarily get billed for the products, and technically you can keep the mysterious package under Alberta laws, Thomas says.

The Consumer Protection Act stipulates that companies cannot force you to pay for goods or services that have not been ordered unless you agree to pay in writing. So if you don’t agree, you don’t pay.

But there is a worrying downside to being the recipient of these packages, Thomas says.

On the one hand, it means that someone has access to your Amazon account – as well as the personal information it contains, like linked credit cards.

“They could use your credit card to buy these products and send them to you. So you want to watch your statement carefully, ”said Thomas.

She says to contact Amazon for any strange deliveries that you haven’t ordered, but watch out for fake customer service numbers that are sometimes returned to the top of online search results by advertisements paid for by scammers.

Thomas says people should monitor their Amazon accounts for unauthorized purchases and also change their passwords.

As the scam becomes more prevalent in North America, Thomas says the BBB has yet to have official reports in southern Alberta or Calgary.

However, she says that if there are cases, she urges people to report them so that the office can better track the scope of the scam.

Hail scams in Calgary, says Thomas

There is more fraudulent activity on the radar for Calgary. Thomas warns of scammers who in particular could target those affected by the June 13 hailstorm that severely damaged property in communities northeast of the city.

“We are warning people to be looking for entrepreneurs – as we call them storm chasers, night entrepreneurs – who come in. They don’t have the expertise, they don’t have the proper licenses, and they offer you offers on the spot, ”Thomas said.

She said the offers are often very attractive.

Before agreeing to terms or paying money, Thomas says make sure to check out companies, such as checking their licenses and assessments, as well as getting references from people who have worked before. by them.

“We know we have entrepreneurs going to these areas who are not registered,” Thomas said.

“So make sure you check before you commit.” “


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.

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