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What to do if you get a random Amazon parcel that you didn’t order


Unexpected Amazon package shows up? Here’s how to handle it (Picture: Getty)

Ahh, one of the joys of online shopping is waiting for your Amazon package to arrive.

Sure, browsing and buying is fun, but the best moment comes when you hear a knock on the door – or see that brown envelope slip through your letterbox.

What happens, though, when you didn’t actually order anything from Amazon – but you’ve still been sent a parcel?

Sadly, you likely don’t have a mysterious benefactor. Your address may well be entangled in an increasingly-common new Amazon scam, which is called ‘brushing’.

Eep, it all sounds quite scary, doesn’t it? But should you open the parcels – and what should you do if you actually like the item in question?

What is the latest Amazon package scam?

Getting a parcel is always a nice surprise – but what if it’s part of a scam? (Picture: Getty)

‘Brushing’ involves third-rate Amazon sellers sending people unwanted items.

Usually, it’s something completely random, like a cheap pet toy or fake eyelashes. One of the Metro.co.uk team tells us she was randomly sent a bong.

Essentially, the seller is doing this to boost their rankings on Amazon’s pages. The more you sell, the higher up your product goes.

The aim is to become the first result when someone searches for their desired item.

To do this, they ship out a ton of product – which is usually fairly cheap to do – to random addresses.

Sometimes, they might even created a dummy account for your name and address – so ‘you’ can review the item ‘bought’.

Fortunately, it shouldn’t involve your bank details at all – but either way it’s still extremely annoying, especially if you’ve been sent loads of items you don’t want.

A recent poll by Which? revealed that 4% of 2,000 people had been a victim of brushing.

When you apply that on a national scale, that means as many as 1.1 million people could have been affected.

In response to the claims, an Amazon spokesperson said: ‘Less than 0.001 per cent of orders are impacted by brushing as Amazon has robust processes in place to prevent abuse from impacting reviews and rankings.’

What should you do if a random Amazon package arrives?

Amazon has a pretty good guide on what to do if you’ve been sent a mystery item.

Firstly, double check a pal or family member hasn’t sent you a surprise gift – you certainly don’t want to chuck that away!

Do you need to return an unordered package to Amazon? (Picture: Getty)

If the answer is firmly no, then simply report the suspicious activity to Amazon.

Contact Customer Service and explain the situation. They may ask you for a photo of the package or shipping label – as they’re well aware of brushing and are actively looking into it.

There’s no need to return the item, says Amazon, so a report is the extent of the effort you need to put in.

You should probably dispose of it though, as you really don’t know where the item came from.

It’s important to be super vigilant – especially if its something you’d use on your skin or in your home, such as a beauty product. Something like a faulty piece of tech, for example, could be dangerous too.

If the item is involved in a scam tactic to game Amazon’s rankings – then it only makes sense to be concerned about its legitimacy.


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