Are Unsolicited Planting Seeds From China The Latest Internet Scam?
There is a weird thing happening all over the country right now...yes, I know everything seems weird in 2020, but this one is just bizarre to me.
People all over the country, including New York, have been receiving unsolicited seeds in the mail from China. People didn't order them, they just showed up in their mailbox usually in a small lightweight grey envelope. Inside the envelope is an unmarked baggy of seeds. I've seen some that look like sunflower seeds and others that look more like a dehydrated pistachio.
The New York Department of Agriculture is aware of this weird phenomenon that's going on and put out this statement.
"Our office has received questions from a few New Yorkers who have received unsolicited packages allegedly sent from China that are marked as containing jewelry (or other items) but which actually contain plant seeds. Similar packages have been received in other states and the United States Department of Agriculture is investigating. People who receive seeds should not plant or handle the seeds. They should store them safely in a place children and pets cannot access and email USDA immediately at email@example.com for instructions."
So far none of the seeds have turned out to be dangerous and it doesn't look like China is trying to destroy our crops with an invasive plant. It's more likely that this is just another internet scam. But, wait...how can it be an internet scam when it came to me in the mail and I never ordered them online?
There's an internet scam called "brushing"...I'd never heard of it either...basically, a dishonest seller sends out a package that is labeled as jewelry and then posts fake customer reviews to boost sales. I don't really get why they have to send you something like seeds in the mail to "prove" they sold you something and then post a fake review. Why not just post the fake review? Seems like a lot of trouble for something people do on Amazon for fun. If you never realized there are tons of fake and mostly hilarious reviews on Amazon take a moment and read a few reviews of the Hutzler Banana Slicer.
Whether it's some nefarious plot to take over the United States one garden at a time or just another internet scam the message is the same. DON'T PLANT THE SEEDS.