Watch Out For Mystery Seeds!

Sep 16, 2020 By Alyssa U
Alyssa U's picture

What would you do if you checked your mail, only to find a package of unidentified seeds?

After thousands of people reported receiving seed packets that they hadn't ordered, Amazon has banned foreign companies and residents from selling seeds in the US — a new policy that took effect as of September 3.

Many of the packets appear to have been sent from China. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working together with China to investigate the mystery seeds sent to people in all 50 states. 

So far, the investigation shows these are seemingly normal seeds, for plants such as roses and mustard. However, the USDA and other agricultural officials still warned not to plant the seeds. Only about 300 of the thousands of seeds have been identified, and some could belong to invasive species that could harm the natural environment.

Now, why would anyone do this? The USDA thinks it might be a “brushing” scam. Brushing is when sellers try to boost their product reviews on platforms like Amazon and eBay by sending unsolicited packages to random people. The sellers then use these false sales to highly rate and compliment the product.

However, the item shipped doesn’t necessarily have to be the actual product for brushing to work — this might be a reason why the perpetrator is sending seeds, which are cheap. A brushing scam would also explain why some of the packages were labeled as rings or beads — the scammer may be using seeds as a less expensive substitute for jewelry.

Even if the seeds are harmless, the USDA advises people to leave the packaging untouched, and contact a state plant official or director. 

Sources: BBC, CNN, Guardian


sup's picture
sup November 9, 2020 - 9:18am
hmm I have a garden, I do not know what seeds they are!
sup's picture
sup November 9, 2020 - 9:19am
patsrock123's picture
patsrock123 October 16, 2020 - 6:28pm
dhritideepak's picture
dhritideepak October 5, 2020 - 12:13pm
Mystery Seeds? That's crazy.
Curious Dolphin's picture
Curious Dolphin October 4, 2020 - 4:14pm
That is so creepy even if it is harmless
GREY_HAWK731's picture
GREY_HAWK731 October 2, 2020 - 12:49pm
Dat is weird's picture
Donald.gunyon@g... October 2, 2020 - 11:48am
I want some to plant see what they are.
thou shall not's picture
thou shall not September 29, 2020 - 12:59pm
I agree.
braxton_s's picture
braxton_s September 29, 2020 - 12:50pm
ryan6969's picture
ryan6969 September 29, 2020 - 12:28pm
wow's picture September 29, 2020 - 7:45am
that is weird but a good story
advaitphysdino's picture
advaitphysdino September 29, 2020 - 1:49am
That is weird indeed
smalltiger's picture
smalltiger September 21, 2020 - 12:27am
Vicky's picture
Vicky September 20, 2020 - 4:08pm
Ooh, that's weird