Kelly Gallivan is tired.
Since October, Amazon packages addressed to her husband have been arriving on their doorstep. First they got a plastic fan (which plugs into your computer’s USB port), and a charger that doubles as an electric hand warmer.
“What did you order this for?”, she remembers asking her 70-year-old husband after unwrapping the “techy gizmo stuff,” reports IOL.
The problem was, Mike Gallivan hadn’t placed the ordered. They thought that was a once-off, but it wasn’t long before they received more “techy” packages:
More than 20 boxes have been sent to the house, all addressed to Mike Gallivan, none containing the sender’s name or invoices or receipts.
The gadgets have started piling in a corner of their house: Phone chargers, USB cords, an outdoor TV plastic cover, a computer vacuum cleaner, a humidifier powered by a USB, a Bluetooth speaker, tent lamps, high-intensity flashlights, a rechargeable dog collar.
Thankfully, no charge has been made on any of the items, but the couple fears their names are connected to some sort of scam:
“At first it was kind of weird. Then kind of funny. Then kind of creepy,” Kelly Gallivan said.
“We don’t want this stuff. Some of it’s trash, some it’s pretty good stuff. But we just don’t want this stuff and its just an uncomfortable feeling that we keep getting these things.”
And, well, they aren’t the only ones.
Anonymous boxes labelled as Amazon packages have been arriving at several Canadian university student unions. Contents of the packages vary, from iPod cases to sex toys, and are baffling.
After contacting Amazon, the Gallivans were told by a representative that, from a package’s bar code, the items were paid for with a gift card.
Two ex-Amazon employees have an idea of why such packages are being sent:
[A] mystery seller is likely trying to boost the visibility of their product online by creating a false email account, which would then be used to create an Amazon account.
Then the seller would buy the product with a gift card and send it to someone random, like the Gallivans. Once the item is shipped, the seller – now considered a “verified buyer”- can then write a positive review of the product with the false email account.
In this business, more good reviews makes it look like you’re doing better business, and Amazon typically showcases top-rated products:
“If [a seller] can get on the first page of Amazon as opposed to the tenth page, their chances of doing business are better.”
But the couple isn’t too worried about the items, only their privacy:
“You get a lot of things you don’t want, and that can lead to annoyance, mixed with some resignation,” he said. “But what’s bothersome is that my name and info is out there.”
The story was first reported by the Boston Globe’s Sean Murphy, and was published along with a video showcasing some of the weirder products the couple received:
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