Australians start receiving mysterious seeds as platforms struggle to uproot scam

In response to complaints about customers receiving unwanted seeds from an unknown place, Amazon has now banned the selling of plant products. But you have to wonder why they allowed it in the first place. 

 

 

Unsolicited packets of seeds from international addresses have been turning up on Australian doorsteps recently, sparking national and biosecurity fears.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment said 46 packages containing unidentified seeds had arrived on Australian shores in the past five weeks. The majority of the packages are postmarked from Taiwan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and, chiefly, China, though the exact sources are still unknown.

Agricultural groups have warned of the potential risks to Australia’s farming sector these seeds could have, and the federal government has launched an investigation into the seed packages to find out where they came from and their variety.

‘The unsolicited seeds may not have gone through any of the checks and balances that legally imported seed goes through,’ Australian Seed Federation chief executive Osman Mewett told ABC News.   

Mewett warned recipients not to plant seeds form unknown senders as they could prompt an ecological disaster if introduced into the Australian ecosystem.

‘There’s a real risk if they are planted, or if they are thrown in the bin and end up in the tip then they could introduce weed species or diseases to Australia that we don’t currently have,’ he said.

He added that the planting of unsolicited seeds could cause billions of dollars in damages to local industry.

 

Australia isn’t the only target; unsolicited seeds have turned up in both Europe and the United States. Amazon has now barred foreign sales of seeds in the United States following the influx, and other e-commerce platforms are expected to follow suit.

 

Australia isn’t the only target; unsolicited seeds have turned up in both Europe and the United States. Amazon has now barred foreign sales of seeds in the United States following the influx, and other e-commerce platforms are expected to follow suit.

“Moving forward, we are only permitting the sale of seeds by sellers who are based in the US,” Amazon said in a statement.

The USDA suspects that the mystery seeds are part of a “brushing scam”.

“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 in July.

Brushing scams are typically carried out by sellers of small, inexpensive-to-ship products. The vendor will obtain “customer” details from publicly available information or from a leaked database that’s doing the rounds from a previous data breach. They then set up fake accounts with the said information, have the product delivered to the address, and then leave a positive review from the fake account—which has made, as far as the e-commerce site is concerned, a genuine purchase. The review is branded as a verified review, and thus the trust in the vendor and their product has now increased.

 

 

 

 

 

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