State Agriculture Officials are warning New Hampshire residents not to plant packets of seeds that may arrive in the mail, unrequested, and with return addresses in China.
People across the world have begun to receive small packages of all sorts, as part of an e-commerce scam known as "brushing." Sellers create fake orders in order to boost their rating on websites like Amazon, which moves their products closer to the top of search results.
Piera Siegert with the New Hampshire Division of Plant Industry says the USDA is heading up an investigation of the shipments, which appear to be flouting international trade rules that certify that no invasive seeds are being sent.
"When they come in from overseas and they don't go through that process, that certification process, then you can't be certain of those things that you want in the seeds that your receive," Siegert says.
Any resident who receives the seeds should save them, not plant them, and contact the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture Markets and Food.