Consumer Alert: Free Amazon packages are the latest scam

(WBAY) - Getting free packages from Amazon sounds like a good deal, but it's the latest scam the Better Business Bureau wants you to know about.

FILE - Amazon Prime package, Photo date: 2018 / Source: Amazon

A lot of people love getting Amazon deliveries. And if they're free, that sounds even better!

But the Better Business Bureau is warning about what's called the "Amazon brushing scam." The BBB says this is happening across the country.

Here's how it works:

Amazon boxes with no return address show up on your doorstep -- but you didn't place the order.

The packages are coming from companies, usually overseas, that are third-party sellers on Amazon.

They're using your Amazon information to order products, have them shipped to you, then they post a good review of their merchandise. Those fake positive reviews improve their product ratings, which mean more sales.

The BBB says some people are even getting swamped with packages. In one case, a home received a humidifier, a Bluetooth speaker, a flashlight and a computer keyboard vacuum which they didn't order.

So you might think, what's bad about getting stuff for free?

It could mean your Amazon account was hacked.

Think about what's in your Amazon account: Your address, your relatives' addresses, your purchase history, your credit card information.

What should you do?

Go directly to Amazon's website. Don't use a search engine to find support phone numbers, because those websites could be very realistic but fake.

Change your Amazon password. Notify Amazon and report the fake reviews.

And keep an eye on your credit card bills.

As for the free stuff, the Federal Trade Commission says you have a legal right to keep unordered merchandise. The only problem is, if you're shipped anything illegal in those packages, you could be held responsible.

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