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Using a high-resolution X-ray machine to detect the presence of seeds

In the world-first, agriculture department uses high-resolution X-ray machine to detect presence of seeds. The Australian agriculture department is undertaking a world-first trial of new technology aimed at detecting seeds sent in the mail after 228 reports of Australians receiving mysterious seed packets from overseas.

People in Australia and a number of other countries, including the US, UK, New Zealand and Canada, began reporting packets of seeds they had not ordered in mid-July. 

The US Department of Agriculture has suggested that the seeds may have been sent as part of what is called a “brushing scam”. The scam is aimed at boosting third-party sellers’ ratings in online stores such as Amazon or eBay by setting up a fake customer account using someone’s name and address found in a data breach. They then buy a product using that account and ship small items to the person’s address, and then leave a five-star review for that seller. 

Ministerial briefing documents obtained by the Guardian show Australian authorities have reached the same verdict. “Seeds are often sent in the mail as a result of an e-commerce practice called ‘brushing’ to bolster their store’s orders and ratings and to increase their visibility online,” the question time briefing document prepared by the Australian agriculture department states. 

Read more at The Guardian (Josh Taylor)

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