China coronavirus horror: Terrified US residents receive face masks with own DATA on them

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In one region of Florida, local news station WFLA reported one resident from the city of Clearwater received two packages of the face masks. The packages did not have an exact return address – though some of labelling indicated it was from Shanghai, China.

Sharp told the news station: “I was afraid to even open it after I saw it.”

“All of this information, including my cell phone number, [was] on there … I was afraid to even open it after I saw it.

“I didn’t want to keep it in my house.”

However, analysts have now pointed to an explanation – the unordered packages may be part of what is called a brushing scam.

US association the Better Business Bureau this month released a statement detailing the scam, which it said is “popping up all over the country.”

The BBB said: “Often, the items received are lightweight and inexpensive to ship, such as ping pong balls, or more recently, face masks or seeds from China.”

“The companies, usually foreign, third-party sellers that are sending the items are simply using your address that they discovered online.

“Their intention is to make it appear as though you wrote a glowing online review of their merchandise, and that you are a verified buyer of that merchandise.

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“They then post a fake, positive review to improve their products’ ratings, which means more sales for them. The payoff is highly profitable from their perspective.”

Anyone who receives such unwarranted items should keep an eye on their bank statements, notify retailers such as Amazon, and change their account passwords.

The unsolicited deliveries have also happened elsewhere. A woman in Ohio reported receiving a package with just one face mask inside.

She told WCPO news station that package had “what appeared to be Chinese writing on the side.”

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Several reports of similar packages arriving to homes in the US state of Virginia have led police in the state’s Tazewell County to issue a statement.

The statement, posted to Facebook this week, read: “Have you received face masks from China that you didn’t order?

“Members of our community have begun receiving these packages. Our recommendation is if you didn’t order it throw it away.

“Just like with the seeds that have been sent it is not recommended using the mask sent to you – throw the mask away.”

Last month, similar unwarranted packages began to turn up on doorsteps in all 50 states of the US.

These packages contained seeds – at least 14 which were later identified by the US Department of Agriculture.

The USDA said some of the seeds were mustard, cabbage, roses, and herbs including lavender.

The department added: “At this time, we don’t have any evidence indicating this is something other than a “brushing scam” where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales.

“Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your State department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins.”

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