Received Unsolicited Foreign Packages of Seeds?

— Written By

By now, you may have seen the reports of these foreign seed packages on social media outlets. These seeds are most likely a part of an international scam known as “brushing.”

Seed packages from China

Seed packages from China (Photo from The New York Times)

Read the news release here

According to the Better Business Bureau, foreign, third-party sellers use your address and Amazon information to generate a fake sale and positive review to boost their product ratings,” said Phil Wilson, director of the Plant Industry Division. “Seeds are just one of the items used in this scam, however, you could receive other inexpensive items such as rubber bands, plastic toys, or empty bags.

N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has asked that you follow these steps: 

  1. First and foremost, please do not plant the seeds!
  2. Contact the Plant Industry Division at 1-800-206-9333 or

If emailing, please include:

Name, address, phone number and photo of the package 

3. Place seed packages in a Ziploc bag and drop it off at your local N.C. Cooperative Extension office. Please include the above information on a piece of paper to stick in the Ziploc bag.

N.C. Cooperative Extension, Yadkin County Center
2051 Agricultural Way, Suite 201
Yadkinville, NC 27055

4. With our office still closed to the public, please call to notify us that you are bringing by the foreign seed packages. 336-849-7908.

5. The NCDA&CS will send a representative to pick the packages up from our office.

Thank you for helping us identify and hopefully stop future shipments!