Imagine this. You received a parcel, it has your name on it but you don’t remember ordering anything online. For some people, it may be a pleasant surprise (yknow like getting surprise gifts from other people or something). However, there are some of us who have received mysterious packages containing something pretty… peculiar.
Just recently, we came across a social media posting from a Facebook group stating that how some Malaysians have been receiving packages that were put in their mailboxes. They claimed that they didn’t remember ordering anything from online stores.
So… what’s in the package? Well, apparently a pack of SEEDS.
We got in touch with the owner of the post to find more about this but we’ve yet to receive a response. In the meantime tho, we found out that these Malaysians are not the only people to receive packages like this because…
People around the world also received these mysterious seeds
According to news reports, this incident can be traced back to July 2020 in several countries like the United States, Australia, Japan and Europe. And just like the aforementioned Malaysians, Jan Goward from the US received similar packages too.
But unlike the Malaysians’ packages, the delivery package Jan received labelled the seeds as stud earrings from Singapore. Meanwhile, other people have received different types of seeds (about 14 varieties) from plants like mustard, cabbage, mint, rosemary, lavender and roses.
In the first few cases that happened in the US, the packages were said to have come from China. But as we went through more reports about this incident from other countries, we noticed that the packages were allegedly sent from Taiwan, Singapore and even Malaysia.
We even came across a Facebook post claiming the same thing.
We got in touch with the person who posted that to find out about her experience but she has yet to respond to us. But one thing is for sure tho was how the package that we mentioned in the intro wasn’t even from China but Batu Pahat, Johor.
Anyways, ever since the news about this incident broke out, China authorities have been investigating these mysterious packages. According to China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, the address labels seen on the packages may have been forged.
We asked Malaysia’s Agriculture Department if they knew anything about this but we’re still waiting for their responses.
Apparently, these packages may be a part of a bigger scam called the brushing scam. A brushing scam is normally done by sellers to boost their sellers’ review. They would do this by creating a fake profile with a victim’s information, which may have been leaked online. The seller would then write a positive review on their items using this fake profile.
You can watch this video to understand more about this scam.
And although this scam doesn’t seem like it’ll cause you to lose your money, it may be as dangerous as others because it involves your personal data that are being circulated online.
But even so, the main question you’d have if you receive this parcel would be…
Can you tanam those seeds at home?
Apparently, some people have tried planting these seeds but most of them didn’t actually grow into anything. One guy from the US, Doyle Crenshaw, decided to plant the stud earrings seed he received and they’ve been growing in his garden for two months.
“We brought them down here and planted the seeds just to see what would happen, every two weeks I’d come by and put a miracle grow on it and they just started growing like crazy.” – Doyle, as quoted by Fox 59.
But not everyone’s like Doyle la. Most people like Jan decided not to plant those seeds although they may seem harmless.
“I haven’t got a clue what they are, so there’s no way. I wouldn’t ever plant something that I didn’t know the origins of.” – Jan, as quoted by The Guardian.
In addition, many people advised Malaysians in the Facebook post in the intro to not plant the seeds she received. And this may have something to do with how these seeds may be invasive to the local, native environment.
Not only will the plant be a threat to native plants but, according to experts, it may also invite invasive insects or pests. This may be why some experts claim that these seeds may cause an agriculture bio warfare although a plant science researcher at Penn State University, Art Gover said this may not be likely.
Despite that, authorities in various countries are investigating these cases. And most of them can agree to one thing – the public should NOT plant these seeds at home.
“Biosecurity is of vital importance and we have robust checks in place to protect our plants and wildlife, including for online plant sales.” – The Animal and Plant Health Agency (Apha), as quoted by The Guardian.
Ok, but does that mean you can throw them away?
Easy answer: NO.
Professional environmentalist, Fred Tutman said that throwing them away would not solve the problem as they can sprawl on the land and grow.
While throwing them away won’t get you in trouble with any giants, it may cause problems to other things such as waterways. So what can you do to the seeds instead?
Well, Bernd Blossey, a professor in the department of natural resources at Cornell University, suggested burning them.
“Obviously planting rosemary or thyme in your garden isn’t something that will endanger our environment,” he said. “But there may be other things in there that have not been identified yet. Any time you gain something unknown, my suggestion is burning them, not even throwing them in the trash.” – Bernd to The New York Times.
So, if you happen to receive any dodgy packages of things – be it seeds or other stuff – that you obviously didn’t order, you may wanna be really wary. If you’re unsure of the things delivered to you, you can always report it to the authorities, or in this case, the Agriculture Department advised you to immediately lodge a report to their nearest District Department of Agriculture Office. You can check the list of these offices here.