For many people, the mail is a source of delight. They love sending letters and presents and getting things in return. The mail has proven to be a godsend during the Coronavirus pandemic. This is an easy way to get things people really need without having to head out with a mask to protect your health and hope everyone is doing the same.
As fun as it is to get a mystery package in your mailbox, officials at the USDA have a message for Americans everywhere right now. If the mysterious package is from China or appears to have strange writing you’ve never seen before, you need to speak with your local agricultural officials as soon as possible.Read More »
The arriving envelopes look like standard overseas mail. It’s easy to image they’re something you ordered and then forgot about. They’ll usually be wrapped in plastic and look like something you might order online from another country. Many have at least some form of script on the sides in English. This often indicates to the viewer that there’s jewelry like rings, watches or earrings that might be of real value inside.
If you’re puzzled about this latest development, you’re not alone. All over the country, people are getting these kinds of packages. While some give hints as to the contents and even go so far as to have an invoice that appears to be from a real company on the side, many are simply plain wrappers with the recipient’s name on the outside.
When opened, the packages contain what appears to be some kind of seeds. They might have an unusual smell or an odd texture. Whatever you do, officials at the United States Department of Agriculture have a very basic message. Do not touch the seeds even if they look appealing. Do not open the bag inside. Do not open any material that appears odd. Above all, do not take these seeds and plant them in your yard or the local park.
State officials from all fifty states are asking all of their residents to consider letting them know about these packages as soon as they arrive. Contacting local agricultural officials can help state officials determine what’s inside the packages and their likely country of origin. It can also help the determine if efforts are needed to prevent this problem from becoming widespread and ensure the American landscape is fully protected.
The United States Department of Agriculture ideally want to test as many seeds as they can. Their goal is to see what’s actually being sent and to what sections of the United States. It is possible different states are getting different types of seeds. They would like the recipients to hold on to all parts of the mailing. This includes the package as well as any contents that might have been touched by your family members. That will allow them to see if there are any underlying patterns that need further attention.
Attempt at a Brushing Scam
While officials cannot confirm what is going on, they have some idea. Many American agriculture specialists suspect people in China may be engaging in what is known as a brushing scheme. In recent years, many people all over the globe have turned to Amazon to make money. Amazon lets people connect with each other and sell everything from used books to bathing suits. As part of this process, Amazon allows for a process known as drop shipping. Drop shipping means a person can buy something and then have it delivered to a third party.
Part of the process of making money on Amazon is having a lot of high ratings to show the person before they agree to buy something. When potential customers see high ratings, they tend to believe this is a trustworthy seller. Amazon gives a great deal of weight to reviews from people who have actually purchased the products they’re selling.
Many American agricultural officials believe people from China are deliberately making the decision to send out items to people they don’t know. They’re picking out random addresses in the United States they know to be valid. Once it can be proven an item has arrived at the real address, they sellers are then posting fake false positive reviews on their sites. Many packages seem to come from the Chinese city of Suzhou. This is an area near Shanghai that has seen a lot of Amazon activity in recent years. Seeds have the advantage of being easy to ship. They’re lightweight and don’t cost much to send to the United States.
On Social Media
Given how much people love to share things on social media, it’s no surprise many people are heading to Twitter. Here, they’re sharing these bizarre packages with the rest of the world. People in all fifty states have shared the contents of the packages as well as what it looks like on the outside.
Many state agriculture are also using social media to get the word out. They want people to know exactly what to do if they should get a package of this kind. In an era when people are trying to social distance in order to avoid spreading Coronavirus any further, it can feel quite disconcerting to get a package of this kind in the mail. However, thanks to a swift reaction from concerned officials, it’s clear what people must do in response.
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