We are warning people to be cautious about where they store their personal information, following a recent spate of brushing scams in Staffordshire.
Brushing is a technique used by some online sellers on platforms such as eBay and Amazon to boost their seller ratings. If you have received a package that you didn't order, you may have been the victim of brushing.
Recently, we have received a number of reports about people receiving cheap items of jewellery, made to look like more valuable jewellery, which they have not ordered. We also attended to a resident, who had had six plastic washing machines delivered. These are both examples of brushing.
Brushing scams typically work like this:
The scammer obtains a person’s name and address. This can be through data breaches, public directories, or even social media.
They then use these details to create fake accounts on e-commerce platforms where they sell their own products.
They place orders for their own products, using these fake accounts. They pay for the orders themselves, often using either stolen card details or other illegal means.
In order to make the scam appear legitimate, the scammer ships the product to the unsuspecting recipient.
After the packages have been delivered, the scammer then writes positive reviews on their own seller accounts, using the recipient's name. This helps to boost their ratings and increase their visibility on the platform, in the hope of bringing about genuine sales.
If you receive unsolicited packages through a brushing scam, you must report it immediately. You can call us on 101, or message us using Live Chat on our website. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
You should also report it to the e-commerce platform, so that they can take the appropriate action against the scammer.