Beware Of The Brushing Scam
The USDA is aware that many people around the country have been receiving suspicious packages that they never requested. Often with no return address or a indication of coming from China. Some have been traced back to Kyrgyzstan and, in one case, Singapore.
According to a statement on the USDA’s website, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, as well as other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.
Most people have been receiving seeds but, this is also occurring with small packages from Amazon that may contain inexpensive items or plastic toys. The labels of the packages may say jewelry or small appliances. However, the actual contents are all kinds of seeds or other small cheap items.
The USDA says:
"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. USDA is currently collecting seed packages from recipients and will test their contents and determine if they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment."
If you do receive seeds, click here for the address and procedure to mail them to the proper authorities for inspection. They have warned the public not to plant the seeds since they could be an invasive plant or even be infected with bacteria of some type, or a virus.
If you do receive an unsolicited package from Amazon or other retailer, the best advice from the Better Business Bureau is to change your account password and cancel any payment methods you may have connected to that account, such as credit or debit cards.