It seems like every other day we're warning Michigan residents about another scam that could potentially cost them thousands of dollars.

While this scam may seem like a victimless crime, it's not. It's part of a larger brushing scam, which is illegal in the U.S. and many other countries.

This brushing scam is tricky and even a little confusing. I mean, it's a scam where you get something free out of the deal. However, I wouldn't necessarily call it a deal.

Brushing Scams and How They Work

According to the United States Postal Inspection Service, companies send you a package containing various items that you didn't order. While the package may be addressed to you, there is not a return address or the return address could be that of a retailer. The sender of the item is usually an international, third-party seller who has found your address online.

Then they post a fake, positive review on their website to bump up their product ratings.

United States Postal Inspection Service:

The intention is to give the impression that the recipient is a verified buyer who has written positive online reviews of the merchandise, meaning: they write a fake review in your name. These fake reviews help to fraudulently boost or inflate the products’ ratings and sales numbers, which they hope results in an increase of actual sales in the long-run. Since the merchandise is usually cheap and low-cost to ship, the scammers perceive this as a profitable pay-off.


It might seem like no big deal because well, you got something for free. But when you think about it, your information can easily be compromised. Not to mention, your fake review could get other people to buy a bunch of online garbage.

What Should You Do to Avoid Being Scammed?

The number one thing is, don't pay for it. By law, you can keep the product. If you didn't order the package, you don't have to return it or pay for it.

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