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Are mysterious Amazon packages part of an elaborate scam?

Are mysterious Amazon packages part of an elaborate scam?
© Julie Clopper | Dreamstime.com

Shopping online is one of the major conveniences to have come from the creation of the internet. No more time wasted searching for parking and battling angry crowds at the mall. Unless of course, you like that sort of thing.

Nowadays we simply log on to our favorite site to purchase everything from clothes, electronics and even groceries. It can add some excitement to life when that package you've been waiting for arrives.

Most of the time, receiving a package is a good thing. However, there's a strange phenomenon happening with Amazon packages that might creep you out. Is it all a part of an elaborate scam?

Strange packages keep arriving

This situation started out harmless enough. A Massachusetts couple, Mike and Kelly Gallivan, received a package last October from Amazon that they did not order. The problem is, the packages have not stopped coming.

The couple has received nearly 25 packages to date that they never ordered. Most of them contain inexpensive items like phone chargers, plastic fans that connect by USB, a lithium-battery powered hand warmer, and more.

The Gallivans contacted Amazon to find out what's going on and they were told the items had been paid for by gift card so there's no need to return them. Amazon had no information as to who the sender is or a sender's address. However, one of the packages did have an originating address from China.

Although the couple has never been charged for the packages, they told the "Boston Globe" that they're creeped out by the situation and want it to stop. They are also concerned that they're accomplices in some type of scam.

So why is this happening? According to a couple former Amazon employees, it's an elaborate manipulated review scheme.

What's happening is, third-party sellers, most likely from China, are purchasing items from themselves and sending them to random people in the U.S. This allows the buyer to write a glowing verified review of the product, which in turn boosts the items' ranking on Amazon.

The entire purpose is for the seller's items to have higher rankings. As you know, products that are well-reviewed sell better than products with poor or no reviews at all.

That's why this is considered an elaborate scam. Amazon users could be duped into buying low-quality items based on fake reviews.

There have already been problems with counterfeit items being sold by third-party sellers on Amazon. Which is why it's a good idea to know who you're buying from before you make a purchase.

Know who you're buying from

Most likely the phony review scam is for items being sold from third-party sellers. It's probably a good idea to avoid buying directly from them since there has been an ongoing counterfeit product issue with third-party merchants for some time now.

If you don't know who is selling an item on Amazon that you're interested in, here is how to tell. These are the three ways that Amazon fulfills orders:

  1. Amazon Direct - products are sold and shipped by Amazon.
  2. Amazon Fulfillment - items are provided to Amazon by a third-party. They are then warehoused and shipped by Amazon. These are safe to purchase since Amazon is the shipping party.
  3. Amazon Marketplace - products are sold and shipped directly from third-party sellers. These are the ones to avoid since items are shipped by the third-party merchant.

As I said earlier, people like the Gallivans who receive packages they didn't order aren't doing anything wrong and probably won't be negatively affected by this. Except for all the clutter. The real victims here are those who end up buying a piece of junk item because they read a fake review. Not good!

In other news, there's another Facebook hoax making the rounds...don't fall for it

Kids trying to have a laugh with prank calls have always been corny but no harm was intended. Pranks and hoaxes still happen to this day, unfortunately, some of them are more malicious than those from days past. There's actually one circulating on Facebook right now that you need to know about.

Click here to learn about the latest Facebook scam and how to avoid falling victim to it.

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