Brushing Scam

Mysterious packages of seeds appearing across the globe are thought to be part of a Brushing Scam. Unsuspecting recipients have been receiving packets of seed marked in envelopes from China. Local authorities have warned people not to plant the seeds, due to their unknown origin or intention.

What is a Brushing Scam

A Brushing Scam is a way of gaining positive reviews for products on online marketplaces.

Brushing is a technique whereby fake orders are generated in order to boost the rating of a seller on a marketplace such as Ebay or Amazon. Typically individuals are paid to place low value orders or personal data that has been harvested is used without consent. Each fake sale can help to improve the positioning of a seller and their products. In some instances they post a fake positive review for the product, helping boost and promote the product further.

What should I do if I receive a package of seeds that I didn’t buy online?

The advice from the government is to refrain from touching or planting the seeds. Packages can be reported to the animal and plant health agency. In many cases the seeds are being collected for testing to work out their origin. Due to the unknown, concern is being raised as to whether they may contain pests, diseases or cause damage to our native species, here in the UK.

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