Message circulating via social media warns that criminals disguised as perfume sellers are using paper laced with drugs to debilitate victims and then rob them.
The claims in the warning are untrue. The message is a variant of a very old hoax that falsely claimed that criminals were using ether disguised as perfume samples to knock out people and steal from them. Passing on such false warnings will help nobody.
Pls, if anyone stops U and ask if u’re interested in some perfume & gives u a paper to smell, Pls DON’T! It’s a new scam, the paper is laced with drugs, U’ll pass out so they can rob you or do worse things to u. Pls forward to all friends and family. Save a life pls. This was received from a Senior Police Officer. Take note and alert everyone u want protected. This is not a joke !!!!!!
According to this message, which is being shared far and wide via Facebook and Twitter, dastardly criminals are incapacitating and robbing people by asking them to sniff paper laced with drugs. The message claims that the criminals get victims to sniff the paper by telling them that it holds a perfume sample.
The message asks people to send the warning to all of their family and friends and claims that the information comes from a “Senior Police Officer”.
However, the claims in the supposed warning are untrue and should not be taken seriously. In fact, the message is just an alternative version of a much older hoax that falsely claimed that criminals disguised as parking lot perfume peddlers were tricking people into sniffing ether out of perfume sample bottles.
The “paper laced with drugs” variant also pays allegiance to another widely circulated urban legend that claims that criminals are abducting people by getting them to take a business card laced with the drug burundanga.
As per usual with such warnings, the message provides no evidence or references to back up its claims. The alleged senior police officer is not named nor does the message say where or when any of the supposed attacks took place.
In reality, it is very unlikely that any drug would be so powerful that just one or two sniffs in the open air would render a person instantly unconscious. Ether won’t. Neither would burundanga.
Moreover, there are no credible police or media reports about assaults or robberies like those described in the warning message. The original ether perfume bottle story was derived from just one reported incident that occurred back in 1999. However, the alleged victim’s story was never substantiated and may well have been untrue.
Unfortunately, even police agencies and news outlets can sometimes be fooled into reporting on information derived from false warnings that circulate via social media. Such reports can give totally undeserved credence to these bogus warnings.
Sending on false warnings will do nothing to help keep people safe. Sharing false and misleading health and safety information causes unnecessary fear and alarm and may cause people to ignore genuine warnings.
Last updated: October 27, 2016
First published: November 29, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen