US warning on mystery seeds appearing in mailboxes

LTS3

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Mysterious packages of unlabeled seeds coming from China are appearing in mailboxes across the US. The United States Department of Agriculture, the Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies are investigating the packages. They warn to not plant the seeds. Invasive plants will affect local agriculture and the environment. If you receive such a package, keep everything (bag with shipping label, the seeds, anything else in the bag) and contact your local state department of agriculture for assistance.
 

neely

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Thanks for the warning. :eek:
 

Willowy

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It's probably a scam they run to use your address as a "verified buyer" to write false reviews, and the seeds are likely harmless (they look like citrus seeds to me). But better safe than sorry! Definitely contact the proper authorities, but don't freak out :D.
 

mani

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It's probably a scam they run to use your address as a "verified buyer" to write false reviews, and the seeds are likely harmless (they look like citrus seeds to me). But better safe than sorry! Definitely contact the proper authorities, but don't freak out :D.
They're probably harmless in terms of being touched or imbibed, but planting them could cause all kinds of ecological problems :(
 

Linseylou

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Thanks for the heads up! That’s intense lol. I wonder if It has something to with COVID 🤔
 

WillowMarie

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They're probably harmless in terms of being touched or imbibed, but planting them could cause all kinds of ecological problems :(
Such a great point. This post has been shared in a native plant group I'm in. Many have said they look like _____ or _____, which are very invasive, non-native plants. So please, please, please do not plant any mystery seeds you may get outside.
 

Margret

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The package may be labeled "Jewelry," and authorities say you shouldn't even open it — just report it directly to your state department of agriculture.

Most local television stations have a website where you can find recent news stories, and I suspect most recent newscasts have covered this. So check a local news website! They should have the local phone number to call. In Colorado there's also a number where you can text a pictute of the package with the word "SEEDS."

Margret
 

Willowy

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I saw another picture and it looked like buckwheat. So they must be sending whatever random seed they have on hand.

The scam reviews are so annoying too. I was looking at one product on Amazon and almost all the reviews were fake (clumsy English, misunderstanding of cultural norms, etc.). And they all said "verified purchaser, USA" :/.
 

MoochNNoodles

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My first thought was some kind of warehouse error. I've had Sears send me the wrong item multiple times before they figured out their website database hadn't been updated with the warehouse database. But it's different kinds of seeds.

I know some people who've had seeds mixed up and planted them to see what they were. So it's definitely prudent to tell people not to plant them! I bet a lot wouldn't consider the ecological impact. The fact that they aren't all the same kind of seed is suspicious.
 
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LTS3

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The packages are sent to random US addresses. The people who have received the seeds didn't even order them or any kind of seed and were not expecting any package from China or wherever the packages originated from. Some news reports say that China's postal service has determined that the shipping labels are fake because of the layout of the label and missing information from a standard printed label.
 

susanm9006

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I bet they sent out a huge batch. Some with seeds to random addresses and some with drugs to other addresses.
 
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LTS3

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I bet they sent out a huge batch. Some with seeds to random addresses and some with drugs to other addresses.

Where did you hear about drugs? All the news reports I've seen only warn about mystery seeds not drugs or other item.
 

susanm9006

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Where did you hear about drugs? All the news reports I've seen only warn about mystery seeds not drugs or other item.
Didn’t hear it. It’s just my guess that it some kind of a drug smuggling plot.
 

denice

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This made the national news last night. They said it was probably a scam called brushing. They get addresses from a third party seller and it is for fake online reviews. They said ideally the State department of agriculture will take care of them for you. If not don't just throw them away because they can take root in a landfill. They said crush them, grind them up even bake them before throwing them away.
 

jcat

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The seeds aren't just being sent to U.S. addresses:

Sowing doubt: people around world receive mystery seed parcels
[The] mystery seeds are among potentially thousands of shipments reported this week in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Europe, including about 100 cases in the UK. The packages have sparked biosecurity concerns and international investigations into their origins.
...
The most likely explanation, put forward by the USDA, is that the seeds are low-cost collateral in a “brushing scam”, in which people are sent items unsolicited by online sellers to generate a transaction to support fake reviews, boosting their businesses.
Apparently not everybody is getting the same seeds. It might be helpful if the authorities managed to find a common denominator among the addressees, e.g., that they all used a particular online payment service or ordered goods from the same multinational company.
 
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