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(WFLA Tampa Bay)   "First, it was mystery seeds. Now, face masks from China are showing up - unsolicited - in Tampa Bay area mailboxes. And they are not gifts"   (wfla.com) divider line
    More: Florida, Tampa, Florida, Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Area, Pinellas County, Florida, Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, Florida, Shan Sharp of Clearwater, Clearwater, Florida  
•       •       •

5839 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Aug 2020 at 9:20 AM (10 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



73 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2020-08-11 8:39:37 AM  
Someone is going to lose his or her job because of this practical joke, but it's totally going to be worth it.
 
2020-08-11 8:47:10 AM  
How did they get your information, it was hacked.  They use your address, email, etc to sale to other groups to spam the crap out of you.  They normally don't mess with credit cards or banks because that could cause more financial losses than it's worth.  In other words, they'll make money off your geoinfo and leave the financial information mostly alone.
 
2020-08-11 8:52:13 AM  
Remember in the TV series Jericho, when the airdropped supplies came from China?
But they yanked it off the air, because ***CARRIER LOST***
 
2020-08-11 9:21:43 AM  
Wtf is Better Call Behnkin?
 
2020-08-11 9:24:28 AM  
Anything's a gift if you're brave enough..
 
2020-08-11 9:25:31 AM  
We figured this scam out weeks ago. Now, are we going to have an excited, hysterical "reveal" about it every time some shiat web writer needs something for a deadline?
If so, we are going to see a lot of articles like this.
 
2020-08-11 9:26:55 AM  

Merltech: How did they get your information, it was hacked.  They use your address, email, etc to sale to other groups to spam the crap out of you.  They normally don't mess with credit cards or banks because that could cause more financial losses than it's worth.  In other words, they'll make money off your geoinfo and leave the financial information mostly alone.


Information was not "hacked".
It's gotten from legal mailing lists.
It's nothing to do with spam.
it's brushing.
It says so right in the article.
Just done to boost seller's positive reviews and search rankings.

The merchant-or more commonly a "brusher" middleman who they pay-writes positive reviews using the names of the recipients.

The goal is to appear higher in the search rankings of online platforms like Amazon. The algorithms of those platforms favor merchants with lots of sales and positive reviews from verified purchasers. Since the name on the review belongs to someone who did receive the product, it's considered a verified purchase. Brushing can make it appear that hundreds or thousands of people have received and praised the merchant's product.


https://fortune.com/2020/07/30/what-i​s​-brushing-scam-china-mystery-seeds/
 
2020-08-11 9:27:02 AM  
It would be fun to mail out seed packets with "Plant these for healthy crops" printed in English, and "WARNING DANGER DO NOT PLANT THESE SEEDS" printed in Mandarin.  I have a 5 pound bag of cumin that's just going to go bad otherwise.
 
2020-08-11 9:27:34 AM  
Sharp threw her package in the trash and knew she'd Better Call Behnken to spread the word.

???

I mean, it's free. They're probably perfectly good masks. Some people probably need whatever PPE they can find.
 
2020-08-11 9:28:12 AM  

jso2897: We figured this scam out weeks ago. Now, are we going to have an excited, hysterical "reveal" about it every time some shiat web writer needs something for a deadline?
If so, we are going to see a lot of articles like this.


But hopefully if they go green, the headline isn't a cut and paste from the article like this one.
 
2020-08-11 9:28:31 AM  
We gave the natives blankets when they were cold.  The Chinese are giving us masks in our hour of need.  Thanks, China!
 
2020-08-11 9:29:01 AM  

Salmon: Wtf is Better Call Behnkin?


Better call saul for the milder set?
 
2020-08-11 9:30:54 AM  
Maybe it's China's passive-aggressive way of telling the folks in Tampa Bay that they have halitosis & flatulence issues?
 
2020-08-11 9:31:18 AM  
The FTC and BBB say this is a scheme called brushing.
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-08-11 9:31:42 AM  
Probably pity packs from the rest of the world at this point.
 
2020-08-11 9:32:00 AM  
I have made several orders from aliexpress. Is it bad I am disappointed I'm not getting free stuff?
 
2020-08-11 9:33:39 AM  
does washing them or throwing them out cross anyone's mind instead of running to the media for 12 seconds of idiot glory?

/yeah probably a review scam
//ain't gonna read your link
///can't make me
 
2020-08-11 9:34:30 AM  
"See honey? I didn't order that waifu pillow. It's a scam by China!"
 
2020-08-11 9:34:37 AM  
What should we be sending to China? Guns? High fructose corn syrup? Zip ties?
 
2020-08-11 9:34:50 AM  
Who knew the Chinese were pissed that Tawmy and Gronk signed with the Bucs?
 
2020-08-11 9:35:40 AM  
They then use your name to post false consumer reviews to boost their sales. Given the ongoing pandemic, Sharp says the facemasks are particularly puzzling.

Does she think that they are having trouble finding and using facemasks in China? They don't have American conservatives there, unless they're inspecting their slave labor.
 
2020-08-11 9:36:22 AM  

khatores: Sharp threw her package in the trash and knew she'd Better Call Behnken to spread the word.

???

I mean, it's free. They're probably perfectly good masks. Some people probably need whatever PPE they can find.


Yeah, but that is not how senior logic works.
 
2020-08-11 9:37:57 AM  

TheSwizz: We gave the natives blankets when they were cold.  The Chinese are giving us masks in our hour of need.  Thanks, China!


Well, we obviously need some help from somebody - we aren't dealing with the Trump Virus very well on our own.
 
2020-08-11 9:39:30 AM  
Sounds to me like it actually is a gift.
 
2020-08-11 9:44:12 AM  

rightClick: does washing them or throwing them out cross anyone's mind instead of running to the media for 12 seconds of idiot glory?

/yeah probably a review scam
//ain't gonna read your link
///can't make me


The cynic in me would not be surprised to find the media employing a variation of the same technique.

Review the list of morons who have called with nonsense before
Send them masks or seeds with Chinese labels including information they previously provided to you
Pick up the phone when they call again
Instant local content featuring "real victims"
 
2020-08-11 9:49:54 AM  
Honest, honey. This realdoll is a brushing scam from China.
 
2020-08-11 9:51:04 AM  
By the time a package makes it here from China, all but the hardiest of pathogens have died.  That's working from the Obama era shipping time of the weeks rather than the Trump shipping time of 8 to 12.
 
2020-08-11 9:52:08 AM  

ChrisDe: What should we be sending to China? Guns? High fructose corn syrup? Zip ties?


We need the zip ties

I got the test yesterday. Pretty sure that was a zip tie they used to scrape my throat...
Via my nostrils

/its not that bad
//just not pleasant
 
2020-08-11 9:54:10 AM  

TheSwizz: We gave the natives blankets when they were cold.  The Chinese are giving us masks in our hour of need.  Thanks, China!


Good joke, but "smallpox blankets" was a British general in 1754
 
2020-08-11 9:55:15 AM  

jso2897: We figured this scam out weeks ago. Now, are we going to have an excited, hysterical "reveal" about it every time some shiat web writer needs something for a deadline?
If so, we are going to see a lot of articles like this.


Did we actually figure this out? I saw an article that some of the seeds turned out to be squash, but I don't think that explains why they were being sent to random addresses.
 
2020-08-11 9:55:33 AM  

Marcus Aurelius: It would be fun to mail out seed packets with "Plant these for healthy crops" printed in English, and "WARNING DANGER DO NOT PLANT THESE SEEDS" printed in Mandarin.  I have a 5 pound bag of cumin that's just going to go bad otherwise.


Use rape seed.  That's way when they id the seeds everyone freaks out.

Rape seed is what they use to make Canola oil from.  I guess the marketing guys realized that rape seed oil wasn't a good name.
 
2020-08-11 9:57:42 AM  
Something doesn't add up. If they're putting in the order, doing the shipping, AND WRITING THE REVIEW, why ship anything at all?
 
2020-08-11 9:57:58 AM  

khatores: Sharp threw her package in the trash and knew she'd Better Call Behnken to spread the word.

???

I mean, it's free. They're probably perfectly good masks. Some people probably need whatever PPE they can find.


Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-08-11 9:58:19 AM  
Now the REAL question is: Would YOU trust a mask that you didnt order, that came to you from China?

Is it made out of cloth or just those thin paper masks?

I'm willing to bet that those masks came pre-sneezed/coughed/Covid'ed on.

If its cloth and of decent quality make, toss it in the wash with a crap ton of soap/bleach on the sanitize cycle and go for it.

Paper?  Burn it.  Don't recycle it.  Why?  Several weeks ago there was an article online (that I can not find now to quote for reference) that indicated that some people were going through recycle bins looking for paper masks for them to reuse because they needed masks, and couldn't afford them or they couldnt find them in stores to buy.

/Let me say, for the record, Eww.

//And more for the record 
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-08-11 9:59:32 AM  
Hilarious how some Asian market gets all this address and buyer info correct and gets it delivered so easily and yet absentee ballots always somehow get lost or farked up.
Hilarious.
 
2020-08-11 10:01:19 AM  
Gotta hand it to China.  You'd think "lawless police state" would be an oxymoron, yet here we are.
 
2020-08-11 10:01:26 AM  

ChrisDe: What should we be sending to China? Guns? High fructose corn syrup? Zip ties?


High-level republicans...
 
2020-08-11 10:03:56 AM  

Russ1642: Something doesn't add up. If they're putting in the order, doing the shipping, AND WRITING THE REVIEW, why ship anything at all?


Presumably the service they are selling on (aliexpress  etc) confirms tracking information to ensure that their venders are actually sending products.

I know through aliexpress venders don't get paid until the package arrives.
 
2020-08-11 10:05:26 AM  

khatores: Sharp threw her package in the trash and knew she'd Better Call Behnken to spread the word.

???

I mean, it's free. They're probably perfectly good masks. Some people probably need whatever PPE they can find.


I would have tossed them too.  My mind went immediately to smallpox blankets and Crusaders catapulting the bodies of plague victims over the castle walls.  But hopefully you enjoy better mental health than I do.
 
2020-08-11 10:06:46 AM  

big pig peaches: Russ1642: Something doesn't add up. If they're putting in the order, doing the shipping, AND WRITING THE REVIEW, why ship anything at all?

Presumably the service they are selling on (aliexpress  etc) confirms tracking information to ensure that their venders are actually sending products.

I know through aliexpress venders don't get paid until the package arrives.


Why ship the product? Why not an empty box?
 
2020-08-11 10:10:01 AM  
something something Kung Flu something.
 
2020-08-11 10:12:52 AM  
Eh, what's the worst that can happen with a strange mask?

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-08-11 10:17:22 AM  

Somaticasual: Anything's a gift if you're brave enough..


mediaassets.wtvr.comView Full Size
 
2020-08-11 10:18:49 AM  
It's comforting to see the responses from the Customs officers every time one of these unsolicited international delivery stories comes up.

Wait, I haven't seen a single article where they've even asked Customs about their nonexistent inspection or controls of crap flowing into this country.
 
2020-08-11 10:20:29 AM  

Opacity: It's comforting to see the responses from the Customs officers every time one of these unsolicited international delivery stories comes up.

Wait, I haven't seen a single article where they've even asked Customs about their nonexistent inspection or controls of crap flowing into this country.


Why would customs give a shiat about this?
 
2020-08-11 10:20:38 AM  

WTFDYW: Honest, honey. This realdoll is a brushing scam from China.


But since it's already here...
 
2020-08-11 10:20:55 AM  

Opacity: It's comforting to see the responses from the Customs officers every time one of these unsolicited international delivery stories comes up.

Wait, I haven't seen a single article where they've even asked Customs about their nonexistent inspection or controls of crap flowing into this country.


How would Customs know if an Amazon purchase is legit or not?

/And yes, Amazon does send stuff direct from China
 
2020-08-11 10:22:55 AM  
I actually received one of these mystery boxes. Mine had a very nice completely fake pair of Ray Ban sunglasses in them. We promptly changed all of our passwords.
 
2020-08-11 10:27:56 AM  

Russ1642: big pig peaches: Russ1642: Something doesn't add up. If they're putting in the order, doing the shipping, AND WRITING THE REVIEW, why ship anything at all?

Presumably the service they are selling on (aliexpress  etc) confirms tracking information to ensure that their venders are actually sending products.

I know through aliexpress venders don't get paid until the package arrives.

Why ship the product? Why not an empty box?


The weight has to match. The products are probably produced so cheaply it's not worth the bother to find something else of the same weight.

Though I've heard of scams where a jug of water sent to match weight of heavier items, but that's was an outright scam and not brushing.
 
2020-08-11 10:57:50 AM  

Arkanaut: jso2897: We figured this scam out weeks ago. Now, are we going to have an excited, hysterical "reveal" about it every time some shiat web writer needs something for a deadline?
If so, we are going to see a lot of articles like this.

Did we actually figure this out? I saw an article that some of the seeds turned out to be squash, but I don't think that explains why they were being sent to random addresses.


Just read the thread - others have explained it here as well or better than I would.
 
2020-08-11 11:01:35 AM  

big pig peaches: Russ1642: big pig peaches: Russ1642: Something doesn't add up. If they're putting in the order, doing the shipping, AND WRITING THE REVIEW, why ship anything at all?

Presumably the service they are selling on (aliexpress  etc) confirms tracking information to ensure that their venders are actually sending products.

I know through aliexpress venders don't get paid until the package arrives.

Why ship the product? Why not an empty box?

The weight has to match. The products are probably produced so cheaply it's not worth the bother to find something else of the same weight.

Though I've heard of scams where a jug of water sent to match weight of heavier items, but that's was an outright scam and not brushing.


If you want to match the weight of a mask a good substitute is air. Maybe down, aerogel, helium, or even a hard vacuum.
 
2020-08-11 11:12:35 AM  
Dumb to throw the masks away, the scam is already done at that point. At least the sellers are sending you something useful.

The scam is to send you some "product" as if you purchased it, and use you as a fake reviewer. The contents are just something they throw in - to the scammers, it doesn't matter. In a sense, it's kind of nice of them to send masks. The seeds might also have been similarly sent to be "nice" since that was a hard to get item at the start of the lockdowns (although not as useful to most of the recipients)

Nothing mysterious about the contents of these packages, really, and certainly nothing nefarious (beyond the scamming reviews). It's not like the masks are pre-coated in "china virus" or the seeds are radiation-mutated poisonous veggies. It's just random seeds and face masks.
 
2020-08-11 11:35:11 AM  

LesserEvil: Dumb to throw the masks away, the scam is already done at that point. At least the sellers are sending you something useful.

The scam is to send you some "product" as if you purchased it, and use you as a fake reviewer. The contents are just something they throw in - to the scammers, it doesn't matter. In a sense, it's kind of nice of them to send masks. The seeds might also have been similarly sent to be "nice" since that was a hard to get item at the start of the lockdowns (although not as useful to most of the recipients)

Nothing mysterious about the contents of these packages, really, and certainly nothing nefarious (beyond the scamming reviews). It's not like the masks are pre-coated in "china virus" or the seeds are radiation-mutated poisonous veggies. It's just random seeds and face masks.


There's the risks of planting non-native flora that turns out to be invasive, and pests. Probably low risk, but the reward from trying to put this crap into use is also low so why bother.
 
2020-08-11 11:40:51 AM  
hopefully laced with ketamine.
 
2020-08-11 11:41:47 AM  

webron: Marcus Aurelius: It would be fun to mail out seed packets with "Plant these for healthy crops" printed in English, and "WARNING DANGER DO NOT PLANT THESE SEEDS" printed in Mandarin.  I have a 5 pound bag of cumin that's just going to go bad otherwise.

Use rape seed.  That's way when they id the seeds everyone freaks out.

Rape seed is what they use to make Canola oil from.  I guess the marketing guys realized that rape seed oil wasn't a good name.


You said rape twice.
 
2020-08-11 11:42:01 AM  

nytmare: LesserEvil: Dumb to throw the masks away, the scam is already done at that point. At least the sellers are sending you something useful.

The scam is to send you some "product" as if you purchased it, and use you as a fake reviewer. The contents are just something they throw in - to the scammers, it doesn't matter. In a sense, it's kind of nice of them to send masks. The seeds might also have been similarly sent to be "nice" since that was a hard to get item at the start of the lockdowns (although not as useful to most of the recipients)

Nothing mysterious about the contents of these packages, really, and certainly nothing nefarious (beyond the scamming reviews). It's not like the masks are pre-coated in "china virus" or the seeds are radiation-mutated poisonous veggies. It's just random seeds and face masks.

There's the risks of planting non-native flora that turns out to be invasive, and pests. Probably low risk, but the reward from trying to put this crap into use is also low so why bother.


For the seeds, I agree. I'm just saying, the Brushers were thinking "what can I throw in this package?" and decided seeds would be a nice thing to send, just like the face masks. They were wrong about the seeds, but the face masks weren't sent maliciously, and are, at least, useful.
 
2020-08-11 11:46:29 AM  
I have a wish list for this, although it needs work and there are questions.

For instance, does China make Bentley convertibles and where would I park it?  In exchange for a favorable review?    Does Russia have any plans on expanding to random gifts, or is all that still just for lobbyists and politicians?  Is the US still withholding military weapons until Biden gets unfavorable reports?
 
2020-08-11 11:50:53 AM  

Somaticasual: ChrisDe: What should we be sending to China? Guns? High fructose corn syrup? Zip ties?

High-level republicans...


All politicians
 
2020-08-11 12:13:22 PM  
The Simpson's were about 20 years ahead of time ;)

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-08-11 12:18:30 PM  

mononymous: webron: Marcus Aurelius: It would be fun to mail out seed packets with "Plant these for healthy crops" printed in English, and "WARNING DANGER DO NOT PLANT THESE SEEDS" printed in Mandarin.  I have a 5 pound bag of cumin that's just going to go bad otherwise.

Use rape seed.  That's way when they id the seeds everyone freaks out.

Rape seed is what they use to make Canola oil from.  I guess the marketing guys realized that rape seed oil wasn't a good name.

You said rape twice.


I'm just talking horticulture.  Check your privilege.
 
2020-08-11 12:30:06 PM  

Fireproof: Eh, what's the worst that can happen with a strange mask?

[Fark user image 425x309]


That's awesome.

/eight more days to Halloween, Halloween, Halloween!
 
2020-08-11 12:42:26 PM  

webron: mononymous: webron: Marcus Aurelius: It would be fun to mail out seed packets with "Plant these for healthy crops" printed in English, and "WARNING DANGER DO NOT PLANT THESE SEEDS" printed in Mandarin.  I have a 5 pound bag of cumin that's just going to go bad otherwise.

Use rape seed.  That's way when they id the seeds everyone freaks out.

Rape seed is what they use to make Canola oil from.  I guess the marketing guys realized that rape seed oil wasn't a good name.

You said rape twice.

I'm just talking horticulture.  Check your privilege.


Sorry. I thought you just liked rape.

/blazing saddles reference
 
2020-08-11 12:52:51 PM  
Why doesn't Amazon disallow receipts and reviews about items not ordered? thiere three week dumping of records has caught many in a china scam...  Order some; they ask for more time to get the item sent; Amazon's guarantee of service expires; The item doesn't arrive, ever; You're screwed by both seller and distributor.

/ Don't buy chinapost stuff
// i know it's cheap, but if you factor in the stuff that doesn't arrive; not so cheap
/// Twice it's happened. I'm not a business and it was cheap plastic crap, anyways
 
2020-08-11 1:23:16 PM  

Fireproof: Eh, what's the worst that can happen with a strange mask?

[Fark user image image 425x309]


Well played. Thanks for triggering the earworm.

Share the wealth, i say.
Halloween III Silver Shamrock Commercial
Youtube W7-uC0LDllM
 
2020-08-11 2:09:10 PM  

Autoerotic Defenestration: khatores: Sharp threw her package in the trash and knew she'd Better Call Behnken to spread the word.

???

I mean, it's free. They're probably perfectly good masks. Some people probably need whatever PPE they can find.

[Fark user image 850x445]


Sadly (or not so sadly, it works either way) enough, by the time they're shipped slow all the way over here, anything that was on them because of leaving them lying around on the floor/etc. is long since dead or inert.
 
2020-08-11 2:09:17 PM  
I got some weird shiat from China back around March, was wondering what was up. I got two blood pressure monitors, two sets of like rope lights that I can stick to somewhere, and one other weird item. I figured I was just gonna catch corona from that stuff back then. Good to know it's just a scam to get better reviews.
 
2020-08-11 2:37:20 PM  

Russ1642: Opacity: It's comforting to see the responses from the Customs officers every time one of these unsolicited international delivery stories comes up.

Wait, I haven't seen a single article where they've even asked Customs about their nonexistent inspection or controls of crap flowing into this country.

Why would customs give a shiat about this?


In theory Customs is supposed to inspect foreign shipments coming into the US. Everything from the legitimacy of the sender and receiver is supposed to be verified, but more importantly, they're supposed to prevent dangerous items from coming into the country.

It's been a long time since they actually inspected most shipments, but if they start looking closer into Amazon's practices they can cause a lot of trouble for Amazon by not waving through their orders under the assumption that Amazon is doing all of the required due diligence.
 
2020-08-11 3:35:36 PM  

OldJames: Somaticasual: ChrisDe: What should we be sending to China? Guns? High fructose corn syrup? Zip ties?

High-level republicans...

All politicians


Fair enough. It would be deeply funny to see Pelosi and the Turtle fighting over who gets to put the fortunes in the cookies...
 
2020-08-11 3:37:00 PM  

Opacity: Russ1642: Opacity: It's comforting to see the responses from the Customs officers every time one of these unsolicited international delivery stories comes up.

Wait, I haven't seen a single article where they've even asked Customs about their nonexistent inspection or controls of crap flowing into this country.

Why would customs give a shiat about this?

In theory Customs is supposed to inspect foreign shipments coming into the US. Everything from the legitimacy of the sender and receiver is supposed to be verified, but more importantly, they're supposed to prevent dangerous items from coming into the country.

It's been a long time since they actually inspected most shipments, but if they start looking closer into Amazon's practices they can cause a lot of trouble for Amazon by not waving through their orders under the assumption that Amazon is doing all of the required due diligence.


Yeah right, and Juan Valdez personally inspects every coffee bean before it makes its way into your morning coffee.
 
2020-08-11 6:34:47 PM  

Somaticasual: OldJames: Somaticasual: ChrisDe: What should we be sending to China? Guns? High fructose corn syrup? Zip ties?

High-level republicans...

All politicians

Fair enough. It would be deeply funny to see Pelosi and the Turtle fighting over who gets to put the fortunes in the cookies...


I actually apologize for this joke, in hindsight. What was supposed to be a lighthearted shot at the first industry I could think of that would culturally fit is *way* more racist than intended. It has actually spurred quite a bit of introspection on the impact of bottom-feeding humor in terms of race. Retracted.
 
2020-08-12 12:34:29 AM  
Talking about weird Chinese things, does anyone know about getting calls and messages in Chinese? I googled the number and the results said China. I have one message saved but seeing as I don't speak Chinese I have no idea what it says.

I've been hit and miss lately getting in here so I might have missed a story. I'm getting about two a week. I figure it's some sort of scam but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .
 
2020-08-12 12:44:03 AM  
Yeah, we got a big box of electrical components from china the other day, and included as a bonus, were two masks, sealed in plastic. I'm saving them for the arsehole at the store who needs a mask.
 
2020-08-12 1:15:43 AM  
Weird, all I got from China was a belt and a Batman costume.
 
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