An Amazon scam has caused a wave of panic around the world. Since last month, many testimonies claim to have received sachets containing mysterious Chinese seeds in their mailbox. The case quickly alarmed the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. However, this is only a scam allowing sellers to collect rave reviews on Amazon.
Usually, these are very common and inexpensive seeds, including cabbage, mint, lavender, hibiscus or rose seeds. In some cases the seeds are replaced by poor quality plastic jewelry. As testimonies from the United States, France, the United Kingdom or Canada continue to accumulate, the situation has started to worry the authorities. Across the Atlantic, an investigation has been opened.
In France, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food quickly stepped up to ask the French to especially not to plant the seeds in their garden. “These seeds of unknown origin can be vectors of diseases not present on French territory or turn out to be invasive plants. […]. If you receive unsolicited seed packets, you are asked to place them in a plastic bag and throw this tightly closed bag in your household garbage so that the seeds are destroyed “ advises the Ministry on its website.
The Ministry of Agriculture also recommends sending “Photos of the packing slips and sachets containing the seeds” to the National Brigade for veterinary and phytosanitary investigations and to wash their hands. The authorities fear that the sachets were sprayed with toxic products.
As our colleagues from the World report, these mysterious Chinese seeds quickly generated the appearance wacky theories on social networks and on American conspiracy sites. In the context of the pandemic and the cold war with China, some theorists have even accused Beijing of setting up a “Biological attack” large-scale.
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A simple Amazon scam of two Chinese sellers
According to an investigation by Le Monde, this is more of a scam intended to artificially increase the number of sales made by sellers on Amazon. According to 60 Million Consumers, “These shipments are the result of a ‘brushing’, a scam used by some unscrupulous sellers on major online sales platforms, such as Alibaba or Amazon. The seller hires people, the ‘brushers’, to buy his own products under false names “.
In the process, these unscrupulous traders ask their brushers to post glowing comments on their product page. To verify that a purchase has been made, the seller must absolutely ship a package. To deceive Amazon, they then send sachets containing seeds to addresses chosen at random. To build these fake Amazon accounts, sellers use contact details collected on the webincluding through hacked customer files or data leaks. If you have received seeds, you are invited to change your identifiers on the sites where you have placed orders.
The sellers who are fans of “brushing” are mainly located in China. In this country, this practice is strictly prohibited by law. Based on “Information publicly available on the receipt vouchers photographed by many Internet users”, Le Monde was able to trace back to two Chinese Amazon sellers. On their pages, we find both glowing comments, obviously fake, and very negative comments.
Have you received any packages containing Chinese seeds or low cost jewelry in your mailbox? We await your testimony in the comments below.
Source: The World