The gift with strings attached: Why that free package in the mail is bad news

Deanna Dewberry
Updated: March 09, 2021 05:46 PM
Created: March 09, 2021 04:57 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — In consumer news, the gift given with strings attached.

One of our viewers wrote me recently to say she got a package in the mail, but this package was weird, really weird. So she contacted News10NBC.

The package came in an envelope and was sent by USPS. It was addressed to our viewer. She asks that we not reveal her name. The sender was a company called Unomatch. Inside was a letter of apology.

The Unomatch representative said he was were sorry that her package was delayed so he was sending a free gift, a brooch, but she hadn't ordered anything from Walmart.com. This was definitely a gift with strings attached. Our viewer is a victim of a brushing scam.

“So brushing is when you receive a package at your house that is addressed to you,” Melanie McGovern, the Communications Director of the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York, said. "There's no packing slip. There's no receipt, but there's a product inside, and that means someone has your name and address and is sending you random packages."

The question is why. What did this company have to gain by sending our viewer a free brooch?

"They can use your name to write a review of that package, and that can help sellers get it out into the marketplace,” McGovern said.

Because you received a package, it appears as though you're a verified buyer. It also makes it look as though the company is selling more products than it actually is; and by the looks of it, Unomatch, a third-party seller on Walmart.com hasn't sold much. The clothing has very few if any reviews. That’s a red flag. 

Check out their Facebook page. There are plenty of red flags there too. The company hasn't posted since February of 2020, and the word "online" is misspelled on the site. I definitely have more digging to do.

I reached out to Unomatch. As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, I had received no response. I know what you're thinking. How does this scam affect you? After all, our viewer got a free brooch, right? As I said this gift has strings attached. The sender has your address and could have other personal information. So the Better Business Bureau advises you to change your passwords, check your credit report, and keep an eye on your bank account.


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