Unpacking This New Amazon Scam


Recently I got a strange package in the mail from Amazon that I didn’t order. It was a 12 pack of protein shakes from the brand Soylent. I immediately texted my parents confused, but they hadn’t ordered me the shakes either.  I wanted to understand why I had gotten this random package at my doorstep, so I started to do a little more digging.  Here’s what I found:

In an article published by CNN, they explained that many third-party e-commerce companies are sending people packages and random products without their consent.  It is labeled as a “brushing scam” and it is used to help boost vendors' ratings online.  CNN published a video clip in which they interviewed Chantel Evelyn who had received weird items in Florida.  She had gotten a hair brush and a fish.  Another woman claimed that every two weeks she got a new package in the mail.  CNN explained that this is a growing issue that is happening on e-commerce websites everywhere.

There is not much that Amazon can do, and Amazon is recommending that if you receive these weird packages you shouldn’t do anything or worry.  Amazon also says that this is completely illegal and that companies are doing this to be able to make fake reviews online by donating these “gifts” to people which allows them to write a review that seems accurate.  These vendors want to make their reviews seem accurate so they send out packages to real people in case reviews get traced.  Amazon states that they will take legal action against any seller that is doing this. 

So, if you’re like me and have received any weird unsolicited packages from Amazon, there’s no need to fret. It’s likely a seller doing a brushing scam.  And hey now I have free protein shakes!