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People Are Getting Free Amazon Packages, But It's All Part Of A Scam

Go Social / CBS Local Boston

I will literally take anything that's free, which is probably why I stock up on clear plastic bags at the grocery store. It's not something I'm proud of, but I tell myself that everyone does it. Right?

Free samples being given to you is one thing, but having products shipped straight to your door is another. It feels good, until you learn that nothing in life comes free...

One couple from Massachusetts has been receiving mysterious packages from Amazon since October. At first they thought it was a mistake, but now they're worried they're part of an elaborate fake reviews scam.

Retired nurses Mike and Kelly Gallivan told The Boston Globe that they were feeling like how anyone of us would feel receiving free items: overwhelmingly excited. But once they learned how the scam works, they were thoroughly disappointed...

The Gallivans were receiving gadgets like USB-powered humidifiers, an outdoor TV cover, and rechargeable dog collars.

“An outdoor TV cover. We have no outdoor TV,” Kelly told local reporters.

When they noticed this couldn't be just a kind mistake by Amazon, they tried to track down the product and return it.

“We were really concerned about the fact that it was just shady,” Michael said.

However, they couldn't return the products, and when they tried to contact Amazon, they were told that someone purchased those items with a gift card and sent it to them.

Turns out, sellers are trying to become verified buyers and improve their ratings by doing this. When they send these free gifts out, sellers are the ones who can post an exceptional review of their own product. When the Amazon algorithm notices that a seller is doing well and their product is loved, they will get a higher placement.

The Gallivans aren't the only ones who have been feeling "lucky." Student union centers across Canada have also been receiving free packages.

In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said: “We are investigating inquiries from consumers who have received unsolicited packages as this would violate our policies. We have confirmed the sellers involved did not receive names or shipping addresses from Amazon. We remove sellers in violation of our policies, withhold payments, and work with law enforcement to take appropriate action.”

Does it matter to you if you're part of a hoax if you're receiving free products?

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.