The Infamous Reverse Scam

Posted on January 11, 2019


Life in the Boomer Lane, like anyone else except someone in the witness protection program, loves receiving packages.  Jut the sight of a box on the front porch lifts her spirits for the entire day. Even if the package has “Prime” printed all over it, LBL will happily throw herself into the gaping maw of Amazon in order to get something, anything, from the porch into the house.  January is always virtually package-free, as LBL has already purchased everything she can for the grandchildren and for herself in her annual holiday buying spree.

It was thus a surprise to see the familiar Amazon box on her porch last week. LBL assumed this was a gift she had ordered back in November or early January that was just making its way to her. She opened the box. Inside was a bright pink, plastic plug-in coffee mug warmer, with an illustration of a rabbit’s face.  An astonishing lack of taste aside, LBL was touched that one of her kids would have thoughtfully provided this for her. But there was nothing inside to identify the sender.

Texts to her kids resulted in mutual responses of “Not me. Cool idea.”  The rabbit face mug warmer was decidedly not a cool idea. LBL knew that none of her kids would ever allow it to see the light of day in their own homes. But she plugged it in anyway and sat it on her desk.  She pressed the button so that the cat’s nose lit up. She placed her coffee mug on it.  The rabbit face mug warmer started at her but kept her coffee no warmer than the ceramic coaster she used to use.

Several days later, another Amazon box arrived. Now, LBL was a bit apprehensive as she brought it into the house.  She opened it anyway. The box contained a pair of bright blue gaming headphones. As the last video game LBL had played was Pac-Man, back when the game first came out and LBL’s kids were eager to show it to her, she couldn’t imagine who would have sent her this.

She checked her Amazon order history. No rabbit face coffee mug warmer. No bright blue gaming headphones. She called Amazon. They looked up the items. They found the person who ordered them and told her name to LBL.  The name was unfamiliar to her. LBL asked who paid for these items. She was told that the same woman who ordered them, paid for them.  She was told that the woman would be notified of what happened and Amazon would send LBL a label so she could return the items.

LBL now checks her front porch constantly, looking for another Amazon box. So far, nothing.  She also thinks constantly about why (and how) someone she doesn’t know would (and could) order items, pay for them, and send them to her.  Is this a new age reverse-type scam, something of which LBL is unfamiliar? Is it some kind of hitherto unknown form of psychological warfare? Or does LBL have a secret benefactor, someone with a penchant for plug in rabbit face coffee mug warmers and bright blue gaming headphones?

If this last possibility is the case, and if such person is one of her Loyal Readers, LBL will be happy to provide you with items that she would actually love to acquire. Simply write to her and she will share these with you. But, please, don’t send anything else until you have checked with her.  Many thanks.

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