In September 2021, a viral message was recirculated on Fb about an individual in Louisa, Virginia, who had obtained a bundle of unsolicited masks from China. That publish, which was initially shared in August 2020, claimed that the masks had been confiscated by the police, and that that they had been tainted with some form of chemical irritant:
This publish is from August 2020. As of this writing in September 2021, it doesn’t seem that there are any present stories of unsolicited masks arriving from China. Moreover, this posts declare a few “chemical irritant” are unverified. There have been quite a few different comparable stories in the summertime of 2020, however when officers appeared into these stories, they didn’t discover that they posed any form of bodily menace.
The above-displayed publish was considered one of a number of stories obtained in the summertime of 2020 about unsolicited masks arriving from China. WISTV, an area TV station in South Carolina, reported at the time:
“A Columbia woman reached out to WIS to spread the word after getting a package from China in the mail that she didn’t order. Inside the package were ‘KN95’ face masks.”
Related tales have been additionally reported in Ohio, Florida and Texas. It also needs to be famous that these stories got here on the heels of one other story about suspicious mail packages. You’ll be able to learn extra concerning the unsolicited seeds that have been mailed from China in the summertime of 2020 right here.
These masks have been seemingly despatched out as a part of a “brushing scam.” These scams, usually talking, contain a enterprise sending out unsolicited packages to be able to artificially improve their buyer rankings. Whereas these merchandise might not pose a bodily menace to the recipients, it could point out that an individual’s bank cards, on-line passwords, or different on-line accounts have been compromised.
The Federal Trade Commission writes:
You might need learn concerning the “brushing” rip-off. On this one, any person sends you stuff, unordered, as a result of it lets them give themselves an excellent evaluation in your identify. Annoying, however no matter, proper? Nope. Greater than annoying. It might imply that the scammers have created an account in your identify, or taken over your account, on on-line retail websites. And even created new accounts (perhaps plenty of them) in different names tied to your deal with. Letting them publish plenty of seemingly-real opinions. So control your on-line buying accounts. When you spot exercise that isn’t yours, report it to the location straight away, and take into consideration altering your password for that website.
It also needs to be famous that if you happen to obtain an unsolicited bundle, you’re underneath no obligation to maintain, use, or return the product. When stories of those unsolicited masks initially circulated in August 2020, the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office recommended that individuals merely discard of the packages:
Briefly, folks really did obtain unsolicited masks from China. These stories got here from August 2020, not September 2021 (after they have been reshared), and these masks have been seemingly a part of a brushing rip-off.
“Creepy: Woman Receives Unordered Face Mask from China.” WCPO, 22 July 2020, https://www.wcpo.com/money/consumer/dont-waste-your-money/creepy-woman-receives-unordered-face-mask-from-china.
“—.” WCPO, 22 July 2020, https://www.wcpo.com/money/consumer/dont-waste-your-money/creepy-woman-receives-unordered-face-mask-from-china.
“Getting Unordered Seeds and Stuff in the Mail?” Client Data, 7 Aug. 2020, https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/08/getting-unordered-seeds-and-stuff-mail.
Jess. “Have You Received a Mask in the Mail You Didn’t Order?” 97.7/97.3 The Wolf, https://hudsonvalleycountry.com/have-you-received-a-mask-in-the-mail-you-didnt-order/. Accessed 28 Sept. 2021.
Mallory, Laurel. “Columbia Woman Warns Public after She Got Face Masks from China She Didn’t Order.” Https://Www.Wistv.Com, https://www.wistv.com/2020/08/18/columbia-woman-warns-public-after-she-got-face-masks-china-she-didnt-order/. Accessed 28 Sept. 2021.
—. “Columbia Woman Warns Public after She Got Face Masks from China She Didn’t Order.” Https://Www.Wistv.Com, https://www.wistv.com/2020/08/18/columbia-woman-warns-public-after-she-got-face-masks-china-she-didnt-order/. Accessed 28 Sept. 2021.
“Mystery Mask? Americans Receiving Mysterious Packages from China.” Khou.Com, 6 Aug. 2020, https://www.khou.com/article/money/a-single-face-mask-americans-receiving-mysterious-packages-from-chinese-online-retailers/285-6c94db3f-fa01-41c9-87c0-7b9868ab11ef.
“Mystery Masks: Unsolicited Face Masks from China Arriving in Tampa Bay Mailboxes.” WFLA, 10 Aug. 2020, https://www.wfla.com/8-on-your-side/better-call-behnken/mystery-masks-unsolicited-face-masks-from-china-arriving-in-tampa-bay-mailboxes/.
“—.” WFLA, 10 Aug. 2020, https://www.wfla.com/8-on-your-side/better-call-behnken/mystery-masks-unsolicited-face-masks-from-china-arriving-in-tampa-bay-mailboxes/.
People Are Receiving Unsolicited Face Masks within the Mail From China. 12 Aug. 2020, https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/627405/people-receiving-face-masks-from-china-in-mail.
Wilson, Diane. “Face Masks Showing up in Mail Are Part of Latest Scam.” ABC7 New York, 3 Feb. 2021, https://abc7ny.com/10286086/.