Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and U.S. Attorney Rob Duncan on Wednesday warned of a potential scam related to unsolicited packages containing personal protective equipment from foreign countries.
Kentuckians who receive unsolicited packages with PPE, such as masks or face shields, should report the packages to the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection by calling 1-888-432-9257 or by completing a scam complaint form online at ag.ky.gov/scams.
Kentuckians should also report the information to the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security’s Intelligence Fusion Center by calling 1-866-393-6659.
The Attorney General’s Office noted in a release that the packages 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 the homes of U.S. residents and then write a review of their product using the resident’s name and address.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, scammers are evolving to prey on the concerns of Kentuckians by mailing unsolicited PPE,” Cameron said.
It is recommended that Kentuckians do not use unsolicited PPE items, as the quality and origin of such items cannot be verified.
Brushing scams have been used by scammers in past years to bolster the ratings of their products, but consumer protection agencies are only 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.
Those who believe they may be the target of a brushing scam are encouraged to take the following steps to protect their 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 Protection Hotline or report the scam online as noted above.
The information regarding unsolicited packages of PPE does not apply to unsolicited packages from foreign countries containing seeds.
Those who have received an unsolicited package containing seeds can visit the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s website for next steps and guidance from Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles.
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The Owensboro Health coronavirus hotline is available 24/7 by calling 877-888-6647. Call the hotline before seeking in-person care. More information from OH can be found here.
For the latest information and data on COVID-19 in Kentucky visit kycovid19.ky.gov or dial the Kentucky state hotline at 800-722-5725.
For the latest health guidelines and resources from the CDC, visit their website here.
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