Most people are probably aware of the unsolicited mailing of seed packets from China and other countries and know they should never plant seeds from unknown origins.

Currently, the USDA website urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to immediately contact their State plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director. Then, it asks they hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your State department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions.

Changing your passwords in your online shopping accounts as an extra precaution is suggested by Iowa State Extension.

USDA indicates that they do not have any evidence suggesting 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. They are 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.

Visit the APHIS’ website to learn more about USDA’s efforts to stop agricultural smuggling and promote trade compliance.