Imagine receiving a bunch of Amazon packages full of free, random items that you didn't order. At first, it might sound silly — or even fun. That's what one Massachusetts couple, Mike and Kelly Gallivan, thought when this started happening to them back in October 2017. But it stopped being fun when the packages — containing items like USB-powered humidifiers and rechargeable dog collars — continued to arrive at a rate of about one or two per week. Now, the Gallivans fear that they're being used in an elaborate Amazon review scam.
Unlike a Facebook quiz scam or a government imposter scam, this one is a little more complicated and strange. Here's how it works: An Amazon seller trying to boost its ratings sets up a fake Amazon profile with a fake email account, and then buys an item and ships it to a totally random person. Once the package is delivered to the baffled recipient, the owner of the fake Amazon account is considered a "verified buyer" of the product. That means the seller can write a positive review of the product that will get higher placement than other reviews on the page.
“We’re just plain, ordinary people,” Kelly Gallivan said in an interview with The Boston Globe. “We don’t want any part of this. But the packages just keep coming.”
The Gallivans say when they contacted Amazon, the company told them the packages in question were paid for with a gift card that had no name on it. But James Thomson, a former business consultant for Amazon, says it's likely that the Gallivans are being used by certain sellers on the site so they can write great reviews of their own products. And the Gallivans aren't alone: Student centers in seven universities in Canada have also been receiving a slew of mysterious packages that nobody ordered.
Amazon said in a statement, “We are investigating inquiries from consumers who have received unsolicited packages as this would violate our policies. We remove sellers in violation of our policies, withhold payments, and work with law enforcement to take appropriate action.”
If something like this happens to you, be sure to alert Amazon's customer service representatives so that the company is aware of and can investigate the situation. We hope they figure out who's behind this strange scam soon!
h/t Fox News