Mysterious, unsolicited packages of seeds being sent from China to homes across America.
Prompting agriculture departments in at least 31 states to issue warnings against planting the seeds may be tied to a fake product review scam, police and officials are saying.
The packages, based on photographs and statements from officials, appear to have been shipped by China’s state owned postal company and contain Chinese lettering on the exterior, advertising products ranging from jewelry to toys.
Here’s how the scam works: a seller trying to boost the ratings of their own merchandise sets up a fake email account to create an Amazon profile, then purchases the items with a gift card and ships them to the address of a random person.
James Thomson, a former business consultant for Amazon said “Once the package is delivered, the owner of the Amazon account is then listed as a “verified buyer” of the product and can write a positive review of it that gets higher placement on product pages because of their status.