Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and U.S. Attorney Rob Duncan issued a warning Aug. 5 of a potential scam related to Kentuckians receiving unsolicited packages of personal protective equipment (PPE) from foreign countries.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, scammers are evolving to prey on the concerns of Kentuckians by mailing unsolicited PPE,” Cameron said in a statement.
The Attorney General’s Office has received reports from Kentuckians who received unsolicited packages with return addresses from foreign countries. These packages contain PPE, like face masks and shields, and may be part of what is commonly known as a brushing scam.
These scams are often used by third-party sellers to obtain five-star reviews for their products. Companies who employ this scam send inexpensive items to U.S. residents and then write a review of their product using the resident’s name and address, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Kentuckians who receive a PPE product that they did not order are not recommended to use that item because the quality and origin of those items cannot be verified.
If Kentuckians receive one of these packages, they are encouraged to report it immediately to the Consumer Protection Hotline at, 1-888-432-9257, or visit, https://ag.ky.gov/scams.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, Adair County Sheriff Josh Brockman and Martin County Sheriff John Kirk have received reports of unsolicited PPE packages arriving in the mail at the homes of several residents in their respective counties.
Brushing scams have been used by scammers in past years to bolster the ratings of their products, but consumer protection agencies are now starting to see PPE used as part of the scam. Brushing scams may indicate that an individual’s personal information or identity has been compromised.
If you believe you may be the target of a brushing scam, you are encouraged to take the following steps to protect your identity:
• Change your password on all e-commerce sites.
• If an unsolicited package arrives in a box with a company logo or branding, contact customer service for the company and report it.
• Report the incident to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protect Hotline by calling, 1-888-432-9257, or report the scam online by visiting, https://ag.ky.gov/scams. The information should also be reported to the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security’s Intelligence Fusion Center by calling, 1-866-EYE-ON-KY (1-866-393-6659).
This warning does not apply to unsolicited packages from foreign countries containing seeds. If you receive an unsolicited package containing seeds, please visit the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s website for next steps and guidance from Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles at, https://www.kyagr.com/foreignseeds.