People are receiving mystery seeds in the post – and they’re confused.
Since last week, people around the world have reported receiving packages of mystery seeds in the mail, often a range of plants and herbs that they weren’t familiar with.
Some of the people who received these packages spoke toThe Guardian – one of them had posted a photo of the mystery package, which was often marked as earrings or a toy, in a gardening group on Facebook. Many others started to say that they had received similar packages, and that they were equally confused.
One of them, Jan Goward, said that while she planted most things, she wouldn’t plant these as she had no idea what they were. Since then, US authorities have identified some of them as harmless varieties of herbs and flowers, like hibiscuses and roses. Initially, security departments were worried that it could be an act of bioterrorism, and haven’t completely ruled it out.
Theories have abounded about where they came from. One particularly popular one was floating around on social media over the weekend, with a Twitter user suggesting that people might have bought them without realising that they were seeds early on during food shortages at the beginning of April or May.
Now, because of shipping delays, they’ve finally reached people where they were supposed to.
This is my theory on the Mystery Seeds. 🌱⁉️
I figured out the origin of my seeds! I'll explain why I believe they… https://t.co/P0ERt4T52y
But that doesn’t explain why people who said that they had never ordered fruits or vegetables received them too. There’s also no evidence to suggest that any of these are fruit or vegetable seeds that people could plant.
Currently, the US and the UK are investigating these packages to find out what they are – and have even encouraged people not to plant them so that they can try and figure out what these seeds are actually for.
The most plausible explanation – which authorities believe to be true – is that people have been sent these packages as part of a “brushing scam”, which is where online retailers send people parcels to create a fake transaction, which makes them look more legitimate and which will bolster their viewings online.
The Taiwanese authorities have said that the logistics company which shipped them is unidentified and that marking these parcels as earrings might have been a way to avoid biosecurity checks.
The Chinese government has said that any Chinese postage labels are illegitimate and that they should be returned back to China in order to find out where they came from and who sent them.
Yet, these seed parcels were addressed by name and had people’s home addresses – so it seems like people may have personal information available online that they aren’t aware of. Either way, it left a lot of people feeling uncomfortable, or at least, just a bit confused.
Jan Goward says she’s not got a clue about where they came from – like most of the other people who received them.