When I first heard of the term 'brushing scam' I thought it had something to do with people getting ripped off for not getting the type of brush they ordered. What else could it be?

Get our free mobile app

Well, of course, I'm clueless, again. According to the New York State Division of Consumer Protection, it's where you receive a gift in the mail that you did not order. My first thought is, good for me. If it's free, how can that be a bad thing?

What Is a 'Brushing Scam'

The NYS DCP goes on to explain that it is a scam to use your identity for financial gain, and it's becoming more prevalent across the country.

This practice, also known as a brushing scam, targets a recipient and turns them into a “verified buyer” upon delivery for the purpose of writing fake positive online reviews of merchandise in the recipient’s name.

And that leads to a boost in the product ratings and sales. How many times have you looked at a review of a product that you are considering buying and wondered if that review is authentic or fake? I certainly have, and it makes it more difficult for me to make the right decision whether or not to buy that product.

What Can A "Brushing Scam' Do To You

But more importantly, this practice has compromised your personal information, and no one needs that to happen. So, what do you do if you receive a package in the mail that you did not order?

The NYS DCP mentions that you do not have to pay for that product. You can keep it, donate it or throw it away. You are not obligated to return the product. Now if the product is food, plants, or seed, you need to contact the USDA, because that item(s) may be invasive, noxious, or carry diseases. And the NYS DCP says if you don't recognize the product, contact your local authorities.

Monitor Your Accounts

And finally, monitor all your accounts because your personal identification has been compromised. Look for any unauthorized purchases on your credit cards and bank accounts. Check your credit account. For more information visit the New York State Department of Consumer Protection.

via NYS DCP 

Live Like Royalty in This Upstate New York Castle

"

More From 98.1 The Hawk