Agriculture officials call seeds shipments a scam
DOVER, Delaware (WABC) -- Due to a high volume of inquiries and reports from residents receiving unsolicited, mislabeled and/or unlabeled packages of seed in the mail, New York residents are being asked to mail them to the USDA.
The mystery seeds appear to come from China.
The USDA has been investigating this situation, which they say appears to be a "brushing scam" where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales.
Agriculture officials in all 50 states issued warnings Monday about the seeds and advised people not to plant them.
The Delaware Department of Agriculture says they received several reports over the weekend. Residents in Pennsylvania have also told sister station Action News they have received the seeds.
The packages apparently contain some sort of seed packet either alone, with jewelry, or another inexpensive item.
People who receive seeds that they did not order, that are mislabeled, or are from a questionable source, should not plant or handle the seeds, officials said.
The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, along with the United States Department of Agriculture, are asking that New Yorkers please mail the sealed package of seeds, the original packaging, the residents' contact information, and any additional relevant details directly to the USDA at:
Office of the State Plant Health Director of New York c/o Christopher Zaloga,
United States Department of Agriculture
500 New Karner Rd.
Albany, NY 12205
Residents can email the USDA at firstname.lastname@example.org.