We finally know why Americans kept getting sketchy seeds in the mail from China

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Forum' started by Calliers, Sep 14, 2020.

  1. Calliers

    Calliers Administrator Staff Member

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    The novel coronavirus pandemic is undoubtedly the biggest and scariest situation of the year, but it’s hardly the strangest thing that has happened in 2020. Thousands of Americans have received unsolicited seed packages containing mysterious Chinese seeds over the past few months.

    We’ve seen plenty of reports on the matter, as people detailed their experiences with unexpected deliveries. It turns out the mystery is much bigger than anyone thought, and there may be a simple explanation for it. China isn’t conducting some sort of carefully orchestrated agricultural scam against the US with the help of nefarious seeds, as some might believe. But it’s still a scam nonetheless, and one that you should avoid at all costs.

    An incredibly detailed report from Motherboard shows that thousands of Americans from all 50 states have received such packages over the summer, with various agencies investigating the matter. USDA warns the public not to plant the seeds or ingest them, and instead to contact the agency or local agricultural authorities.

    Aside from the USDA’s Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance group (SITC), the FBI and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) started investigations of their own. Some of the seed recipients planted them, while others went ahead and ate them, the report shows, including a few scary anecdotes.

    “I planted them in my hydroponic system in my home, I thought they were the strawberry seeds I ordered from Amazon. They turned Black and green mold, so I threw them away,” one person from Michigan wrote.

    “I’ve been battling this for a couple weeks. Now, where I planted them, and I remember where I planted them, everything that’s in the garden where I planted them are having a hard time and are starting to die,” said a woman from New Mexico in a voice mail. She planted the seeds after thinking she was supposed to have received them.

    While these stories might be scary and they’d seem to back up conspiracy theories saying that China is conducting some sort of attack, authorities that investigated the matter discovered that some of the seeds do not seem harmful. It’s not just one species either, but plenty of known plants, including “rose, amaranth (not Palmer), 2 mints, False Horse Balm, Self Heal, Lespedeza and Sweet Potato,” according to a lab in Utah. New Mexico identified onion, cucumber, tomato, radish, peppergrass, alfalfa, corn, lettuce, hollyhock, and spearmint seeds.

    A different person discovered they got seeds for oregano and consumed the resulting crop.

    Other seeds are “noxious weeds” that already exist in the US, but which people are banned from planting, according to analysis from New Mexico.

    While authorities had no idea what was going on in the first weeks of shipments, they apparently have an answer now. It’s all part of a complex “brushing” campaign, as Motherboard explains:

    "Eventually, the official line became that this was a ‘brushing’ campaign, in which items of small value are sent to people whose online accounts have been compromised, or are sent to people as a ‘gift.’ In order to leave a positive review from a ‘verified buyer’ (which is weighted higher because the person nominally bought and used the product), you need to have actually bought or received an item, so by receiving seeds, reviews from that account or name will be weighted higher."

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  2. arb65912

    arb65912 Well-Known Member

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    Can anyone explain the last paragraph of the above? If people get seeds from unknown sender how can they leave positive review???
     
  3. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    It has nothing to do with seeds. Seeds are used because they are very cheap. They are basically making online transactions sending these seeds which are worth nothing, so that they can then leave a positive review of the seller/buyer on the site they sell them. It's so stupid.
     
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  4. Calliers

    Calliers Administrator Staff Member

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    If I got those seeds I would imbibe them.
     
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  5. arb65912

    arb65912 Well-Known Member

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    I still do not get it.... sorry, must be my Polish English.

    I get the seeds (for example) who is going to leave the review as I have no idea where I got them from plus why would I leave review anyway?

    Not important but I do not get it. o_O
     
  6. arb65912

    arb65912 Well-Known Member

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    You mean you would grow them? To see what comes out? I am just curious.:)
     
  7. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    They are going to leave positive reviews. More positive reviews means the seller/buyer looks more trustworthy, so now that they have that many positive reviews, they can buy/sell more expensive things and people who will consider trading with them will think that since they have so many positive reviews, it is safe to trade with them.
     
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  8. Tyrsonswood

    Tyrsonswood HH's curmudgeon

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    The seller, or in this case whoever sent the seeds, leaves a false review... As far as I gather.

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    I still think the plants that grow from these seeds are going to cause damage to native plants/trees in the US... We already are having major problems with invasive species... May as well add a few more to the list.
     
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  9. Calliers

    Calliers Administrator Staff Member

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    No I meant I would "eat" them. :D
     
  10. Tyrsonswood

    Tyrsonswood HH's curmudgeon

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    Yeah... But you would eat anything.
     
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  11. Calliers

    Calliers Administrator Staff Member

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    Savage... :p
     
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  12. arb65912

    arb65912 Well-Known Member

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    OK, I think I get it now. Thanks! :)
     
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  13. Dyre Straits

    Dyre Straits 10 Grandkids -2 Great-grandsons

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    Essentially, using the address to which the seeds were sent, and a phony name, the party that sent the seeds creates a phony positive review for a totally different product that that party is selling.
     
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  14. arb65912

    arb65912 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you. People will do anything for a gain...
     

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