Attorney General Josh Stein warns of “brushing scams”

Attorney General Josh Stein warns of "brushing scams" (Photo: Pixabay / MGN)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The office of Attorney General Josh Stein has announced reports of “brushing scams” and are sending a warning to consumers.

According to the office, brushing scams take place when someone recieves a package from a business or company containing items that they never ordered.

The package will be addressed to your residents, but usually do not have a return address.

The scammer will typically order the items through a third-party seller such as eBay or Amazon with their goal being to pose as a verified buyer of that product.

They do this so they can post a fake review online to boost the product’s rating and popularity on the third-party platform.

While it seems harmless, it most likely means that your personal information (name, address and phone number) has been leaked and is available somewhere online.

The office says while these “brushing” scams usually don’t cause immediate harm, your leaked personal information could make you vulnerable to another type of scam or identity theft in the future.

They provide tips on how to keep your information safe if you receive a package that you did not order yourself:

  • Notify the retailer: Most businesses encourage you to report fraudulent activity for security purposes. You should let them know that you received a package based on a fraudulent purchase so that they can take the appropriate steps to prevent it from happening again.
  • Do not send money for an unsolicited package: Contact the retailer directly and ask whether they are willing to pay for the return to them or let you keep the product at no cost to you. You should not pay for any return.
  • Change your passwords: It is very likely that your personal information has been compromised. You should immediately update your security settings and passwords for accounts you may have with various retailers.
  • Monitor your accounts: Keep an eye on your bank statements and credit reports to be sure that your more sensitive personal information has not been leaked. Consider putting a free security freeze in place as well.

You can learn more by clicking here.

If you think that you or somebody you know has been affected by a brushing scam, contact the Attorney General’s office’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint online.

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