Americans in every state – and even some Canadians – have received ‘unsolicited seeds containing seeds that appear to be coming from China’
- The United States Department of Agriculture said that the unsolicited packages of seeds ‘appear to be coming from China’
- All 50 states have reported getting the packages and even the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has shared that some Canadians have gotten the seeds
Every state in the country has issued a warning about Americans receiving unsolicited packages, containing seeds claiming to be from China.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced in a Tuesday press release that the unsolicited packages of seeds ‘appear to be coming from China.’
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working with Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, among other agencies, to investigate the seeds and the situation.
The United States Department of Agriculture said that the unsolicited packages of seeds ‘appear to be coming from China’
All 50 states have reported getting the packages and even the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has shared that some Canadians have gotten the seeds
‘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,’ the department added in the release.
‘USDA is currently collecting seed packages from recipients and will test their contents and determine if they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment.’
The USDA advised Americans not to ‘plant seeds from unknown origins.’
Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry in China, said during a Tuesday briefing that the address labels seen on the packages were forged. He also said that the China Post had been in talks with USPS to have the packages sent to China for investigation, CNN reports.
Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry in China, said that the labels were forged
In a statement, USPS said that it was aware of the mailings and was in conversation with federal, state and local partners as to next steps.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is also reporting that Canadians have been getting similar packages.
Hundreds of British gardeners reported getting seed deliveries marked as ‘ear studs’ from China and Malaysia.
Confused Americans were sent small seed packages in the mail, with labels suggesting they were sent from China.
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer shared a photo of some unsolicited seeds
Kansas officials posted photos of the packages of seeds sent in their state
The type of seeds are currently unknown.
In some of the instances, the packages had Chinese writing printed on the labels and are mislabeled as jewelry.
Photos shared to Facebook showed that one resident received two packages of seeds that were labeled as a ‘bracelet’ and a ‘ring.’
The address showed the packages were sent from the city of Suzhou in the Jiangsu providence of East China.
It’s unclear why the seed packages were sent and why each individual who got a delivery was chosen.
How online scamsters use ‘brushing’ to improve product reviews
An online scam called ‘brushing’ is believed to be behind the strange seed posting.
The scam gives the illusion that the business is credible by finding a person’s name and address online, sending the product to them and writing a review using their name.
As a verified owner – an actual person, with a verifiable address – the review carries more weight.
That positive review improves their product ratings and increases visibility online.
Increased sales numbers, even though padded with fake purchases, look good for the company and help lead to more sales.
Whoever sent the seeds may well have posted the fake reviews for other products – not just seeds – to boost their own company.
The Better Business Bureau say the scam is ‘highly profitable from their perspective’.