Mystery Seeds Arriving in US From China Could Be Part of Scam, Officials Say

By Forest Cong, Lin Yang | VOA News |

Packages of unidentified seeds which appear to have been mailed from China to U.S. postal addresses are seen at the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) in Olympia, Washington, July 24, 2020.

WASHINGTON – U.S. officials say that Americans who are reporting receiving unsolicited packages containing seeds purportedly sent from China could be the victims of a fraudulent internet retail scheme known as a “brushing scam.”

Residents of about a dozen U.S. states have reported receiving mysterious packages containing dozens of seeds that appeared to have been mailed from China. The seeds are of unknown origin, and state agencies are warning recipients not to plant them if they are invasive species.

“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 U.S. Department of Agriculture wrote on its website, adding that the agency is investigating the packages from China.

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