A couple from Massachusetts was perplexed when multiple packages from Amazon arrived at their home containing items they didn’t order.
According to CBS News, Michael and Kelly Gallivan said it started last October: the packages showed up once or twice a week for five months. Kelly said:
“I went out and picked up the package and Mike’s name was on it. I opened it up and I said, ‘What did you buy this stuff for?’ And he said, ‘I didn’t buy that!'”
Some of the items that arrived included a phone charging hand warmer, a flashlight, a humidifier, a Bluetooth speaker, LED lights, and a computer vacuum cleaner.
“I called Amazon, and what I wanted to do was I wanted to send it back. They said to me what’s the order number? I said I don’t have an order number because I didn’t order the thing.”
The couple thinks that the packages started arriving after they bought a guitar accessory from China.
CBS News reports that the packages didn’t come with a return address because they’re part of an online scam called “brushing,” in which an overseas seller will buy their own products through fake accounts and send them to an actual address. The seller will then use the fake account to give a “positive review” on Amazon.
Brian Kilcourse, a retail security expert explained to CBS News why positive reviews are essential to online sellers:
“The positive reviews are like gold. People are always looking for a new hole in the structure at Amazon to be able to put more fake positive reviews.”
CBS reached out to Amazon, and a representative said that the company investigates these incidents and will ban any seller who participates in the scam.
Michael added how frightening this was for his family because his personal information was used.
“It indicates that information that’s very close to us, about us is out there circulating around the world.”
The couple hopes that by sharing their story, they could put an end to the shipment of unordered items from Amazon. They plan on donating the unwanted merchandise.