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Watch Out for Unsolicited Shipments

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Our office has learned that some North Carolina residents have received seed packets from China or other foreign sources that they did not order in the mail. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said the shipping of these seeds is likely the product of an international internet scam known as “brushing.”

  • According to the Better Business Bureau, third-party sellers use your address and Amazon information to generate a fake sale and positive review to boost their product ratings.
  • People who have received these seeds are advised not to plant them by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS). This type of international shipment of plant material is against the law.

Our office is working hard to protect consumers, but the best way to protect yourself is to follow these tips:

  • NCDA&CS asks anyone who received one of these unsolicited foreign shipments to save the contents along with all shipping labels and contact the Plant Industry Division toll free at 800-206-9333 or via email at so that the seeds may be collected and information can be gathered.
  • If any company sends you a product you didn’t order, don’t open or use the product and call our office at 1-877-5-NOSCAM or file a complaint via
  • Do not give out personal information such as birth dates, social security number, or financial information to companies you are unfamiliar with.

If a company contacts you and you’re unsure of their authenticity or if you believe that you have been the victim of a scam, contact our office’s Consumer Protection Division at or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM. Read our alerts to find out about the latest scams, or sign up to have our alerts delivered to you by email.

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