The Texas Department of Agriculture is urging people to take precaution if they receive an unexpected package of seeds, especially if it is postmarked from the state owned Chinese postal service China Post.

Many U.S. states reported these packages being received across the country over the past week in what the U.S. Department of Agriculture deemed a possible brushing scam; this is when {span}people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales, according to the USDA.

Victoria resident Bertha McDowell unexpectedly received one of these packages Wednesday at her home.

Like many other packages being reported, McDowell’s did not state what the contents of the package were. The words “jewelry” and “Wire Connector” were listed at the bottom of the package but contained neither. At the top of the package, “China Post” was also listed as an address label, despite Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Wenbin saying these were forged.

Instead of jewelry, McDowell found a small plastic bag inside the package with small, unspecified seeds.{/span}

{span}McDowell read reports of similar situations happening elsewhere but didn’t know anyone who had received one of the mysterious packages.

“I’m just mad,” McDowell said of the package and possible international scam.

If you receive a similar package, the Texas Department of Agriculture recommends not opening it if possible, not planting the seeds and not throwing the package or its contents in the trash.

If the package is open, place all materials into a plastic bag and seal them closed.Keep contents contained in their originally sealed package and report any unsolicited seed packages to SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov or 512-916-5241.

This story was updated July 31, 2020 to correct the phone number. 

Geoff Sloan reports on business and breaking news in the Crossroads region. He received his Bachelor's in international relations with minors in journalism and French from Texas State University. Reach him at gsloan@vicad.com or @GeoffroSloan on Twitter.

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Geoff Sloan reports on business and breaking news in the Crossroads region. He received his Bachelor's in international relations with minors in journalism and French from Texas State University. Reach him at gsloan@vicad.com or @GeoffroSloan on Twitter.

(2) comments

Carlos Vasquez

Shouldn’t the address be blacked out? 🤦🏻‍♂️

Geoff Sloan Staff
Geoff Sloan

Carlos,

Great catch. Thanks for letting us know and always feel free to comment, shoot us an email at feedback@vicad.com or direct message the Advocate on Facebook.

Geoff Sloan, Business & Agriculture Reporter

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