Federal Trade Commission

08/07/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 08/07/2020 19:16

Getting unordered seeds and stuff in the mail?

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August 7, 2020
Jennifer Leach
Associate Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

Those mysterious seeds from China have been in the headlines, but we're also hearing about other stuff that people are getting that looks connected to the seed mystery. There could be a few things going on, so let's start unraveling the Great Unwanted Goods Mystery of 2020.

First, DON'T PLANT MYSTERY SEEDS. And don't throw them away. Instead, follow the USDA's advice on what to do.

Did you order something and get seeds or other junk instead? If that's you, dispute the charges for the thing you didn't get. We hear that some sellers might be sending stuff so they can show payment companies the tracking numbers to prove they delivered something to you. So: tell the payment service you used (PayPal, for example), and your credit or debit card companyright away that you got seeds, never got anything, or got something other than what you ordered. If the seller tries to use a tracking number to prove it delivered, point out anything to show that it's not credible - maybe a weight listed that's different from the package you got, or a different delivery address.

You might have read about the 'brushing' scam. In this one, somebody sends you stuff, unordered, because it lets them give themselves a great review in your name. Annoying, but whatever, right? Nope. More than annoying. It could mean that the scammers have created an account in your name, or taken over your account, on online retail sites. Or even created new accounts (maybe lots of them) in other names tied to your address. Letting them post lots of seemingly-real reviews. So keep an eye on your online shopping accounts. If you spot activity that isn't yours, report it to the site right away, and think about changing your password for that site.

Finally, if you got seeds or anything else in that mail that you didn't order, you don't have to pay for it. You also never have to returnunordered merchandise.

Is it jinxing us to ask how much weirder 2020 can get? Let's be careful out there. And if you spot a scam, tell the FTC: ftc.gov/complaint.

Tagged with: identity theft, mail, password
Blog Topics:
Money & Credit, Privacy, Identity & Online Security
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Honor| August 7, 2020
  • reply

Many online US sites as well as street shops sell seeds originating from China with numerous seed packets on display at discount stores. The more exotic seeds are often sold by foreign merchants and are regarded as invasive according to the US plant index. Gardening enthusiasts should always ask questions of the merchant and do some research.

KSis| August 7, 2020
  • reply

This one was interesting . Thanks

4lllls| August 7, 2020
  • reply

I got seeds and not sure where to take them to get them checked. Been months ago and I did order them but got others too that I didn't order. Now what?

FTC Staff| August 7, 2020
  • reply

Follow the USDA's advice on what to do.

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