CHAUMONT, N.Y. (WWNY) - Mysterious seeds are showing up in mailboxes across the United States, including here in the north country. If you get them, you’re told to not open them and report it to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A package was delivered to Rootz Environmental Consulting in Chaumount. Inside was a small zip lock bag of seeds.
The shipping lable, which is made out to the business's address, has Chinese symbols on it, but the owner said he did not order it.
He's not alone. Eight other states are known to have had these packages arrive at random.
Jefferson County Agricultural Coordinator Jay Matteson says his office is getting questions about the mystery seeds - seeds that won't help farmers grow crops. In fact, they could be harmful.
"Do not plant the seeds because, number 1, our greatest concern would be that they are some sort of invasive species that could be detrimental to our agricultural industry. Also, make sure you don't handle them because we don't know if they are contaminated with something," said Matteson.
New York state’s agricultural commissioner put out a statement saying people who receive the seeds should not plant or handle them, should put them away in a safe area, away from kids, and email the government. You can find that information here.
The Better Business Bureau has a different take on the seeds, calling this “brushing.” That’s where scammers use real addresses and create fake accounts, mail you something you didn’t expect, and then write a review online - let’s say on Amazon or eBay - trying to show they are a legitimate business.