Yesterday, I got an Amazon package I definitely didn't order.

It wasn't anything serious, it was just this little brass nozzle that looks like it's used to join two hoses together. A quick scan on showed that it was only a few bucks, but I definitely never ordered it. Nor was it listed in any of my past, current, or upcoming deliveries.

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Then I remembered hearing there was some kind of scam about this sort of thing. And naturally, when you hear the word scam, you automatically assume the worst. I figured this meant I was in for a whole day of cancelling credit cards and all that kind of thing. But instead I read about this particular situation, called "brushing"?

So what is 'brushing'?


Brushing is a type of scam where a company has likely hired a person or team of people to write positive Amazon reviews for a given product. But instead of sending the product that they're actually reviewing, they send you the cheapest little thing imaginable to secure a verified purchase. But all the reviews would indicate you got an expensive new gift, not a $1.99 hose nozzle.

Kit L.
Kit L.

Now, nothing happens to you and your account isn't compromised, but it does lead to hundreds, if not thousand, of fake reviews for a product. Which in the long run, undermines the whole review process. Ultimately, you won't know if the product is truly as good as it's "supposed" to be, based on reviews.

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Is there anything you should do if it happens to you?

As a matter of fact, yes. Amazon has a whole special section of their site dedicated to reporting brushing scams. Obviously, Amazon would like their review sections to be as accurate as possible, not full of a bunch of fake reviews for a trash product. And, it reduces the trust people will have in legit products worthy of a positive review.

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But again, nothing will happen to your Amazon account, or your bank account. You're all good. In fact, you don't even have to return the little gadget you get sent. But you should report it. Every little bit helps!

I love the days before the internet, when scams were so much harder... Remember these things?

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