MESQUITE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Mysterious seeds from China are popping up in mailboxes across Texas and the country.
Even experts are stumped about what is happening.
“This one is a ziplock baggie with no label and no instructions on it,” said Sabrina Miranda.
The Mesquite self-described “flower person” says she received her first package of seeds in May.
A few days ago another package arrived.
“It is a sealed bag and you have to tear it open and it has a label,” says Miranda describing the second small clear bag with black seeds inside.
The same mysterious packages and seeds are popping up in mailboxes across the country.
Unsuspecting recipients have received them in more than 30 states.
Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller says they have been shipped to 100 to 200 Texans.
“We need to take every precaution. It could be a bacteria. It could be another virus, some kind of invasive species,” says Miller.
Commissioner Miller says it could also be a fake product review scam called brushing.
Scammers go online and find real people with real addresses. They mail an actual product. Then they use your information to post fake reviews to boost their sales.
Phylissia Clark is the Vice President of Public Relations and Communications with the Better Business Bureau.
“If brushing is happening and your identity has been used, your identity has been compromised. Somebody knows enough about you to create a profile online adn use you to manipulate systems.”
The I-Team is hearing reports of other products- including N95 masks- being shipped to unsuspecting residents.
The BBB, the United States and Texas Departments of Agriculture, and Department of Homeland Security are all working with the China Postal Service to determine whether this is all part of a scam or something sinister.
“I don’t want it to effect our environment and I really don’t want to be scammed,” says Miranda.
If you receive one of these packages, do not open the seeds and do not throw them away.
Also, save the packaging.
Report unsolicited seed packages to SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov.
The Texas Department of Agriculture wants to send the seeds to a lab for testing.