Mystery masks: Unsolicited face masks from China arriving in mailboxes

National

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — First, it was mystery seeds. Now, face masks from China are showing up unsolicited in some mailboxes in Florida. And they are not gifts.

Shan Sharp of Clearwater, Florida was stunned when she went to the mailbox recently and found a package she wasn’t expecting.

“I looked at the label and it had Shanghai, China from a certain district,” Sharp said. “All of this information, including my cell phone number, (was) on there.”

Sharp carefully opened the envelope and discovered two packages of face masks and no note.

“I was afraid to even open it after I saw it. I didn’t want to keep it in my house,” said Sharp, who threw her package in the trash.

The FTC and BBB say this is a scheme called brushing. Sellers get your address, username or even Amazon profile, and send you unsolicited items, usually lightweight and cheap.

They then use your name to post false consumer reviews to boost their sales. Given the ongoing pandemic, Sharp says the face masks are particularly puzzling.

There have been reports of not only seeds and face masks but also jewelry. Sometimes the package is a box of face masks, while some people report receiving only a single face mask.

The good news is this scheme is not expected to cost you money, but some unknown company could be using your likeness to boost their presence and reputation online. The FTC recommends that you change all e-commerce passwords if you receive packages from China that you didn’t order.


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