Getting unordered Amazon items

Over the past couple of weeks we have been receiving unordered items from Amazon. Some have someone else’s name but my address. I return those.

But others are addressed with my correct name and address. I have multiple Amazon accounts but I have been monitoring the main ones as well as all my credit card charges and no orders or payments appear.

  1. theories on what the heck is going on?
  2. Am I being set up for a deeper game?

BTW, the stuff is weird: an apple lightning to audio jack cable, an A/D converter to convert audio output to TOSLINK, a shower board that is basically a piece of plywood with magical properties that you are supposed to use as a bath mat, a leather cover for an Ipad.

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This has happened to me as well. NPR has a nice explanation:

The general idea is that it helps with ratings on Amazon.


Wow. So fake reviews are worth real $$ ??

edit: The fake reviews imply that someone has hacked into my account.

OOI: I think that there is either one seller or multiple sellers who are now sending the Gallivans products and then using that verified sale to leave a review on Amazon.

Can a vendor leave a review in my name without access to my account?

-------- old stuff —
Whenever I look at reviews, I judge them on the reasons they give pro and con. Not just the 5 star greatest stuff ever, love it reviews. The reasons can be faked but if they are way off people will comment or post opposing reviews.

I will admit reviews of books are subjective but again the reasons matter. If they like a book because it’s super symbolic or sensitive, then I know to stay far away. :grin:

It is always useful to run the review through websites that filter them, for example:

You haven’t necessarily been hacked. They can ship stuff to an address and order it with another account.
Then this is a “verified purchase” and looks legit when they review it.

And YES absolutely the fake reviews are worth real money to the vendors. Of course they aren’t spending a ton of money. They’re buying it from themselves so really they just pay some shipping cost and a % cut to Amazon. Do that a few times and they might get a good fake review marketing campaign for $100-200 Thats enough to pump up the review stats on some chinese knockoff junk they sell for a good markup.

I’ve also seen people accidentally ship something to someone because they somehow used an old ship to address for an acquiescence/relative in their Amazon account. I’ve had stuff I’ve shipped to friends and relatives in the past and once in a great while I’ll see Amazon incorrectly pick one of those addresses as the ship to out of the blue, probably a bug. If I didn’t notice I might accidentally ship something to my sister in another state.
Thats not likely to happen frequently though so I assume thats not your situation.


BTW, in case people don’t know, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you have a legal right to keep unordered merchandise and consider it a free gift. That’s because federal law prohibits mailing unordered merchandise to consumers and then demanding payment.


That’s true, but not really relevant to this thread since OP’s merchandise was ordered and paid for. Nobody is expecting anything else from him.

The right thing to do is probably to contact Amazon and report this. But the first level support probably won’t care or even know what to do with your report.

I’m all for getting and keeping free stuff, but this just sounds like a bunch of cheap useless junk that’s just going into the landfill.


So by keeping my account secure through semi-paranoid password policies and javascript limitations, I am not getting free junk? Hmm … at least my wife will consider that a positive thing. :smile:

Especially if you forget your password and can’t buy anything at all.

But semi-seriously the stuff is just weird. Here is one of the cr*p that arrived:
diatomaceous earth bath mat

Looks great doesn’t it. It’s actually a solid board like a piece of plywood. No cushion whatsoever. I always knew the Japanese liked weird stuff like their boiling hot baths but this is ridiculous.

I will try to donate the stuff to Goodwill. They can probably unload it on some packrat.

But wait! Right on the web page, it says that it’s “Your Perfect Bathroom Partner” and it’s even spelled correctly. Do you really want to throw something that valuable away?


The bath mat listing on Amazon has an A grade on Fakespot. So the scam is working apparently.

But one of the 5* reviews on Dec. 4 is about a phone case… so oops. Copy paste error by the fake reviewers?
Reading through the 5* reviews you can tell many of them are not legit.


Interesting. I think diatomaceous earth powder is used to kill domestic critters like fleas, bed bugs, and silverfish (it penetrates and breaks down their shells). I’m guessing this is in solid form. But what if it cracks? In powder form some of it is bad for lungs (probably like asbestos). Maybe it’s not as safe as the product description implies.


Its got silica in it, but so does concrete, brick, mortar, etc

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Or somebody is hacking it and waiting to steal it off your doorstep.

I can say I’ve had an extended experience with this. First I thought it was stuff ordered by someone else and shipped to my address by mistake but my name was correct on it and everything checked out otherwise. Then I thought maybe I had a family member or friend sending me stuff. That happens now and then but not that frequently and usually not without notice. Plus they 'd usually include a gift receipt which those never included. Another giveaway was that the tracking label included a phone number. My first reaction was to call that number to see if that person was expecting the package and I’d have arranged to give it to them. All phone numbers were actually not in service when I tried to call and all were from my area code.

Anyway, after a week and 4 packages, I contacted Amazon about those. I was very explicit that I did not know who had sent me those and I had a hunch that it was a scam. They told me to keep and enjoy the “gifts”. The thing is most of them were junk I don’t want to use and did not want to clutter my house with keeping. Plus something bugged me to no end about being used by scammer pumping positive reviews.

That’s when I remembered that Amazon accepts returns of gift to give you Amazon credit… The only issue was the lack of gift receipt. But it turns out, you don’t need one. The process is automated if you have a gift receipt but they can also process a return based on the name of the product AND very crucially the UPS or USPS tracking number. So I made myself a spread sheet of those packages with product names and USPS/UPS tracking numbers from the box and did live chats with customer service to get Amazon credit for returning these “gifts”. A few times I got shot down because the seller was not accepting returns so I could either send it back and get nothing or just keep the product. Some Amazon reps were also pretty poor at handling the process. I could usually tell if they were familiar with locating orders from USPS tracking within a couple of minutes. If they were not, I’d basically give up and live chat another rep a few minutes later.

All in all, I’ve received maybe about 40 packages over a period of 4 months. About every 2-3 days. Average gift value was $5-30. Overall, I made just shy of $700 in Amazon credit and kept 3 gifts I could actually use. I was worried about Amazon getting pissed at me for returning so much junk but I hoped it’d make them look into those specific scammer if everyone returned them like I did. Then one day it stopped for about 3 months and then restarted for about another month then stopped again. I have not received any in about 8 months now.

I don’t advocate doing this but just mentioning what I did about these Amazon gifts from scammers…

Btw, if you’re curious - like I was -, you can actually pretty easily get the Amazon reps to tell you who sent you those. I had the phone number on the account from the tracking labels so I knew which account the packages were from. I just told reps that I wanted to thank whoever sent me those but could not do it due to missing gift receipt. And they’d often oblige by giving me the first name on the scammer’s account. Later on, when returning, I could confidently tell the rep the name of the senders based on their phone numbers. With name and product, I’d go to the amazon page and a few days after a package was delivered looked for a glowing 5 star review by someone with name corresponding to the one the rep had given me… I remember early in the process mentioning all this to the Amazon rep and they did not care one bit about my findings. Didn’t matter to them that I had pretty good proof that the specific account was faking orders to pump their positive reviews. So if you value your time, don’t bother trying to alert Amazon.


Awesome. I didn’t even think about that.

Wanna post 'em product names? I’m curious.

To be honest, I was keeping that spreadsheet to reconcile which returns I was paid for or not and follow up if need be, and also to not have to keep all the boxes indefinitely since I just needed the shipping labels’ tracking numbers.

But I’ll dig up some I remember:

There were a tons more. Not really much rhyme or reason to the “gifts”. I’d get some protein supplement, then some baby bibs, then some fuzzy socks, a boot scrapper, a dog collar, etc …


There is evidence that scammers do this to their competitors in order to get them shut down: Dirty dealing in the $175 billion Amazon Marketplace - The Verge

I’m guessing that Amazon prefers to detect this type of thing through their own algorithms rather than user input to avoid instituting any process which scammers could take advantage of.