(WXYZ) — The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is warning people across the United States to report if they've received unsolicited packages of seeds from China in the mail recently.
The packages may be a part of a "brushing" scam, which is an exploit by a vendor used to bolster product ratings and increase visibility online by shipping the product to people without their knowledge.
MDARD says not to open or plant the seeds, which come in a package with Chinese lettering and the words "China Post," on them.
Some people report that the package was even labeled as "jewelry."
“If you receive unsolicited seeds from another country, do not plant them. If they are in sealed packaging, do not open the package,” said Mike Philip, director of MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division. “We don’t know what type of seeds are in the packages, but we do know they come in a variety of sizes and colors, with some reported to be very tiny. These unsolicited seeds could be invasive, introduce diseases to local plants, or be harmful to livestock.”
MDARD also warns that the seeds may potentially produce invasive species that could negatively impact the environment.
So don't throw the packages away or dispose of the. Instead, contact MDARD's customer service center at 800-292-3939, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or report the packages by email to MDA-Info@michigan.gov.