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The Facebook posts include a link that appears to be an Amazon form for purchasing an unclaimed parcel for $1. But the link directs people to malware.
It is possible to buy unclaimed parcels from Amazon by using websites like Liquidation.com, or at a local swap meet.
What’s in that box? A new iPhone or a fancy kitchen gadget? It’s all part of a $1 Amazon offer shared on Facebook that seems so good it makes Prime Day look overpriced.
But it’s not a deal; it’s a scam.
Several Facebook posts allege that Amazon has so many lost and unclaimed packages piling up in its warehouses that the company is offering them to customers for only $1 apiece.
"By rule, Amazon can throw these packages away, but now they're running a promotion and giving away random packages for just $1! You can easily get appliances, iPhones, kitchen items, or other items!" one post read.
Some of the posts link to a sign-up form to receive one of these packages. But before you spend your hard-earned buck, pump the brakes — that link leads to malware.
The posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
We clicked the link in one of the Facebook posts and immediately got a Google warning that it was a deceptive site called noriat.com. We entered the site into ScamAdviser.com, which rates websites for their trustworthiness and got an extremely low Trustscore — just 1 out of 100.
Other Facebook posts used different links advertising parcels for around $1. But we found that the results were the same — they all lead to faulty websites; none of these posts came from Amazon. We reached out to Amazon for comment, but received no response.
In an article about staying safe from malware, the University of Georgia’s CAES Office of Information and Technology said a link’s being published on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s safe,
"There are many malicious sites designed to be shared on Facebook and bring victims to their site," the story said. "Facebook has been cracking down on this and while the results are positive, you should still be cautious of what you click."
Postal Times, a website aggregating postal news, reported that it is legal to buy unclaimed packages from both Amazon and the United States Postal Service, but there’s a safer way to do it. As The New York Times reported in June, companies such as Liquidity Services collect surplus and returned goods from major retailers like Amazon and resell them, often for cents on the dollar.
Liquidation.com auctions Amazon parcels on which people can bid. CNET reports that packages have also been sold at local swap meets. NPR has also highlighted YouTubers who buy pallets of returned goods at auction and reveal the contents.
Facebook posts shared a claim that Amazon is offering unclaimed boxes of random items for $1. But the link in these Facebook posts leads to a malware site with a high potential for harming the devices of people who click on it.
While the Facebook posts are fake, people can buy unclaimed Amazon parcels through legitimate websites like Liquidation.com.
We rate the Facebook claim that Amazon is selling boxes for $1 False.
Facebook post, Aug. 15, 2022
ScamAdviser.com, Trustscore for noriat.com, accessed Aug. 17, 2022
University of Georgia, An obvious guide to avoiding malware, March 21, 2017
Postal Times, Yes, you can legally buy unclaimed Amazon and USPS packages. Here’s how, Oct. 4, 2021
CNET, Yes, You can legally buy unclaimed mail. We'll explain how, June 4, 2022
NPR, The (not-so) secret second life of your Amazon returns, Jan. 12, 2022
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