- Reuters/Lucas Jackson
- Multiple people in the US and Canada have reported receiving Amazon packages they did not order.
- There seems to be a pattern of behavior and few safeguards against it happening.
- Victims can’t make it stop, even after reaching out to the company, and fear they may be victims of a scam.
Amazon packages showing up in the mail usually brings a smile to one’s face, but for some unlucky people, it’s just another mess to clean up.
One person – identified only as Nikki – told the Daily Beast that she unwrapped an unsolicited Amazon package, only to find a $25 sex toy inside. That wasn’t all, though. She has continued to receive packages for things she didn’t order, including junk like a charging cable for a Bluetooth device.
Nikki apparently isn’t the only one receiving random items. Amazon told the Daily Beast it’s “part of some bad behavior that we are investigating.”
A retired couple in the Boston area told the Boston Globe last week that they also are being buried by an avalanche of junk from unsolicited Amazon packages over the span of several months. They’ve reached out to Amazon, and an investigation is ongoing, but the packages keep coming in the meantime.
The items are perfectly addressed, come with no note or receipt or packaging slip, and are paid with a gift card so there’s no trace of the sender.
In a statement to Business Insider, Amazon said: “We are investigating inquiries from consumers who have received unsolicited packages as this would violate our policies. We have confirmed the sellers involved did not receive names or shipping addresses from Amazon. We remove sellers in violation of our policies, withhold payments, and work with law enforcement to take appropriate action.”
There are other verified instances of this happening, including reports from several students at a Canadian university.
Experts who talked to The Globe said the couple was probably the victim of a scam intended to game the reviews system on Amazon’s website.
Here’s how the scam works: A seller has something listed on the website, then a fake account created by them or someone close to them buys the item and sends it somewhere random. That account can then leave a glowing “verified review,” which is worth a lot to sellers.
In a statement from a spokesperson, Amazon casted doubt on the supposition that scams were the motivation behind the sending of the packages.
“Our investigations thus far indicate that customer review abuse is not the motivation for these cases. We have found very few reviews written on these shipments and we remove any reviews that we do find immediately,” the statment reads. “Only the sender can write a verified purchase review and still must meet the minimum requirements. The sender cannot write a review on behalf of the receiver. Our review detection systems are trained to catch this type of behavior and we will continue our ongoing efforts to detect and prevent abuse.”