Seeds in Mail From China; Do Not Plant

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture along with officials in at least 26 other states are urging residents to report any unsolicited packages of seeds that appear to have been sent from China, warning that they might be invasive or otherwise harmful. The agriculture departments in those states have issued statements in recent days, noting that residents had reported receiving packages of seeds in the mail that they had not ordered. The seeds appear to have been mailed in white pouches bearing the words “China Post” and Chinese characters noting the contents as “ring.” Some seeds have also been sent in yellow envelopes with the Chinese characters describing the contents simply as “accessories.” Others say they contained earbuds or toys. It is a possibly it is what they call a brushing scam which is a way that a vendor tries to bolster product ratings and increase visibility online by shipping an inexpensive product to an unwitting receiver and then submitting positive reviews on the receiver’s behalf under the guise of a verified owner. Although so far the seeds do not appear to be directly dangerous, it is important that you not plant the seeds. If you receive any seeds in the mail it is important that you call toll free to 1-800-971-3459.