Face masks mysteriously appearing on doorsteps part of ‘brushing’ scam, Better Business Bureau says

Scams have become part and parcel of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the latest one being face masks reportedly appearing in residents’ mailboxes. 

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), consumers have reported receiving box loads of merchandise on their doorsteps allegedly labeled from Amazon and other retailers.

"Often, the items received are lightweight and inexpensive to ship, such as ping pong balls, or more recently, face masks or seeds from China," the BBB writes in a report published on Aug. 3, 2020.

The scam is called "brushing," and while it involves an array of different items, the scammer’s goals are relatively the same. 

"The fact that someone was able to have the items sent to you as if you purchased them indicates that they probably have some of your personal information such as your name, address, and possibly, your phone number," BBB writes. 

The scheme involves companies, typically third party over-sea sellers, who send items to addresses found online in hopes of boosting reviews on retail sites like Amazon. 

Once the items are delivered, these sellers post fake reviews to increase their sales numbers. 

The BBB says another common aspect of "brushing" scams involves "porch" piracy. 

"There are instances where thieves use other people’s mailing addresses and accounts, then watch for the delivery of the package so they can steal it from the door before the resident gets it," the BBB said. 

The BBB urges consumers who have experienced this to contact Amazon Customer Service to report fraudulent purchases and change account passwords. 

For those wondering what to do with the items, the Federal Trade Commission says you can keep any items that are sent to your address if they contain your name and address.