• That Amazon freebie may actually be from a scammer

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    Gene Hope didn't think anything of it at first.  

    "I'm thinking I'm getting somebody else's packages, no big deal, I just throw it away," he said.

    But the Amazon packages kept coming.  

    "I get this package which is a strapless bra and it's a glue-on bra size D and you know I don't know exactly what a size D is, but it's not my size," Hope said.

    [ALSO READ: Scammers using fake job websites to steal personal information]

    Ultimately, he received six unwanted Amazon packages, including a toy car.  

    It became a joke in his family, but Hope realized it was no laughing matter and worried it could get worse.  

    "They could be sending anything. They could be sending counterfeit money, sending drugs, fake pills, all kinds of stuff," he said. 

    It's a scam called "brushing." A seller sets up a fake buyer account on Amazon. Then the seller uses that account to buy his or her own products. That way, the seller can post positive reviews, which are so valuable on Amazon. The seller has to ship the products somewhere. That's where you come in. It sounds like a good deal for you, but it means that somehow a bad guy has your personal information.

    "Free will cost you in the long run. Trust me," Hope said.

    Always be careful what information you share online or over the phone.

    If you get "brushed," tell Amazon right away and do it in writing. Amazon says it investigates these cases and removes sellers who break its rules.

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