Over a million Brits get sent mystery Amazon packages to boost sales

More than a million UK households have received mystery Amazon parcels sent by third-party sellers to boost search rankings, research suggests.

The ‘brushing’ scam raises concerns over people’s identities being hijacked and leads to wasteful packaging being used for items that are unwanted and sometimes unsafe, Which? warned.

It has heard from victims being swamped with cheap-to-ship products they never ordered, such as magnetic eyelashes, toys for pets, Bluetooth accessories and medical gloves. The sellers do it to bump themselves up the rankings by inflating their sales.

And some take the deception a step further by creating a duplicate Amazon account linked to the recipient’s address, so they can leave a good review for their own product.

Four per cent of 2,000 people polled — equivalent to 1.1million nationally — said their household had received one of the mystery parcels.

‘Consumers should be able to trust that the popularity and reviews of products they buy online are genuine,’ said Rocio Concha from Which?.

‘Amazon needs to do more to thoroughly investigate instances of brushing scams and take strong action.’

Amazon estimated ‘less than 0.001 per cent of orders are impacted by brushing as Amazon has robust processes in place to prevent abuse from impacting reviews and rankings’.

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