Amazon packages mysteriously appearing at your door? BBB says it's a scam.
If you happen to notice strange Amazon deliveries coming to your home, the Better Business Bureau says your personal information might have been hacked. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
CALGARY -- A new scheme used by criminals may seem like a good thing at first, but consumer groups say there is a dark side to the idea.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says fraudsters are using Amazon to deliver random products to customers throughout North America. The victims of the technique, called 'brushing', may not understand why they're being given products for free.
At face value, the reason for these strange deliveries may be innocuous, the BBB says. Most often, the companies are using your address and Amazon information to send you products and then using your name to write a glowing online review that would, in turn, prompt higher legitimate sales.
However, the BBB says the fact they've gotten hold of your personal information is bad news for you.
"Certainly, they have your name and address, and possibly, your phone number and a password. Once the information is out there, it could be used for numerous crooked enterprises," the agency says in a release. "If your credit card is linked to your Amazon account, they could use it to purchase the products that are delivered to you."
If you notice this happening, the BBB says the first thing to do would be to contact Amazon immediately through their customer service page. By going to the official Amazon webpage, you will be able to ensure they conduct a proper investigation and take action.
Second, you should change your passwords immediately and take additional steps such as checking your credit report and bills for strange payments.
"You may (also) want to consider a password manager service to improve account security," the BBB says.
There is a good side to the scam though. All those products that were sent to your address are yours to keep.
"In Alberta, the Consumer Protection Act says companies cannot require you to pay for unordered goods or services unless you agree in writing to pay."
That means since you didn't agree to that humidifier, hand warmer or even a computer vacuum cleaner, you don't need to pay.