HUBBARD, Ohio (WKBN) – Police in Hubbard are investigating after a resident was the target of what is believed to be a brushing scam.

A woman told police Saturday that she received a package at her home on Stewart Street that she did not order, but it was addressed to her. Inside the package was a surgical mask with a broken ear loop.

Police determined that the package was likely a brushing scam where people are sent packages with items they did not order so the sender can write a fake review about items online.

According to the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), fake reviews help boost or inflate a product’s rating and sales number, which they hope results in more sales.

In the end, your personal information may be compromised, according to USPIS, and could be used for other nefarious purposes. The fake review could also prompt people to buy worthless merchandise.

Things to know about brushing scams: (Source: USPIS):

  • Don’t pay for the merchandise
  • Mark the package return to sender if there is a return address
  • Throw it away if you opened it and don’t want it
  • If you like, you can keep it. There is no law saying you can’t
  • Change your account passwords as your personal information may have been compromised
  • Closely monitor your credit reports and credit card bills
  • Notify authorities If the merchandise is organic (i.e., seeds, food, plants) or an unknown liquid or substance, notify the proper authorities and follow their instructions.
  • If you are suspicious of the contents, follow the steps on the USPIS suspicious mail website
  • Notify the retailer and ask them to remove any fake reviews under your name.