FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas — The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is asking the public to be on the lookout for unsolicited seeds originating from China that are being mailed to people’s homes.
They say this has happened in several states and now is happening in Arkansas.
“It’s very weird and to get three different packages to me,” Brooke Reeder said.
Reeder ordered cactus seeds online a few months ago and received some seeds in the mail that she thought were the ones she ordered but it turned out not to be the case.
“I ended up getting two more packages, one I received last week then saw the post about seeds and what to do with them, so I started looking at them and they are from China, they are marked earnings or ear studs and that’s not what’s in them…there are seeds in them,” she said.
The Department of Agriculture says to not plant any of these seeds.
“They think it may be as simple as a brushing scam which is a type of scam where someone sends something inexpensive to you and then they use your information, your address and your name and so forth and they write a review on that,” Clyde Fenton said.
Fenton is with the University of Arkansas Extension Office in Sebastian County. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is sending inspectors out to collect the seeds from people. He says if you do receive one of these packages, don't open it.
“You don’t open the sealed packages. You keep all of the outside envelope and so forth with all the information on it so they have as much information as they can gather to figure out what’s going on,” he said.
Fenton says the only concern with these seeds is they may be invasive species.
“Don’t plant these seeds. We don’t know what they are and certainly don’t want to introduce any more invasive species here in Arkansas,” he said.
If you do receive seeds in the mail that you did not order you are asked to contact the Arkansas Department of Agriculture at 501-225-1598 or email:
Paul Shell – Paul.firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Stoll – Mark.email@example.com
Scott Bray – Scott.firstname.lastname@example.org