Do Not Plant Mysterious Seeds If They're Sent to Your Home, Officials Warn

Unsolicited packages from China containing unidentified seeds are being sent to residents of Massachusetts and dozens of other states

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People in Massachusetts and dozens of other states have received packages from China containing mysterious seeds.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is urging anyone who gets an unsolicited package of seeds to hold onto them and contact state agricultural authorities. The department warns recipients not to plant any seeds of unknown origin.

"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," the USDA said in a statement. "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."

"When I first opened it, I was all like, 'I don't know if I should be touching this," said Missy Cassarly. "Even just like, a package that's sealed, like, I didn't want to touch it, for sure."

Residents across the United States are finding packages of seeds mailed to them from China in what is believed to be part of a scam to skew online shopping algorithms.

When Cassarly received a package of seeds she didn't order, along with a green plastic object, she wasn't sure what to do.

"I don't know what that is," she said of the item. "I have no idea what this is. But it was in with it."

"While the exact types of seeds in the packages are unknown, the seeds are thought to be invasive plant species, and not believed to be harmful to humans or pets but could pose a significant risk to agriculture or the environment," the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources said in a statement.

The seeds have been delivered in at least 28 other states.

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