Circulating warning claims that Romanian criminals in Spain are posing as door-to-door perfume sellers in an effort to get people to sniff a debilitating drug – possibly burundanga – so that the criminals can then enter and rob their houses.
Spanish police have dismissed the claims as a hoax. And there are no other credible reports about home robberies like the ones described in the message. The warning is apparently a variant of other long-running urban legends that falsely claim that criminals are using ether disguised as perfume samples or burundanga laced business cards to knock out and rob victims.
According to a warning currently circulating via social media, Romanian criminal gangs operating in Spain are using a powerful drug disguised as perfume to debilitate victims and rob their houses. The message claims that the criminals pose as door-to-door perfume sellers and trick householders into sniffing what they claim is a perfume sample.
But, claims the warning, this sniff immediately renders the householder unconscious and the criminals can then enter and rob the victim’s house at will.
The message suggests that the drug used by the criminals may be burundanga.
The message further warns that, because Britain may be “flooded with Romanians” after January 2014, British people need to be aware of the criminal ruse described.
However, the claims in the warning are untrue. Spanish police have dismissed claims of such robberies as a hoax. It appears that the hoax warning began spreading across Spain via messaging service WhatsApp in November 2013. Different incarnations of the hoax named several Spanish locations where such incidents supposedly occurred. But, according to Spanish media reports, Spanish police have categorically denied the claims in the warning.
Moreover, I could find no credible reports that describe any Spanish robbery attempts that use the tactic described in the message.
In fact, the message appears to be yet another version of an enduring urban legend that claims that parking lot perfume sellers are using ether disguised as perfume samples to knock out victims so that they can be easily robbed.
And, for good measure, this version of the hoax apparently pays allegiance to yet another urban legend that claims that people are being drugged and debilitated just by taking a Burundanga laced business card from a criminal.
Burundanga is a real drug and there are well-documented cases indicating that it has indeed been used to facilitate crimes, especially in the South American nation of Colombia. However, while burundanga is certainly a powerful drug, it seems highly improbable that one sniff of the drug in liquid form could immediately render the victim unconscious as described in the supposed warning. Burundanga is itself central to many tall tales and urban legends and is discussed in more detail in another Hoax-Slayer article.
Thus, it seems that the above “warning” is nothing more than an English version of the original Spanish hoax message. And, both versions are obviously derived from the much older perfume robbery and burundanga business card urban legends.
Sending on spurious security warnings such as this will help nobody. It is important that people verify the information in such warnings via reputable sources before passing them on.
For the record, the rather racist remark in the message about the UK being “flooded with Romanians” after January 2014 is apparently in reference to the January 1st 2014 lifting of restrictions on “A2” nationals. The Guardian reports:
On 1 January 2014 British labour markets will be open to Romanian and Bulgarian nationals (the “A2”) as they are to people from the rest of the EU. Many are wondering what the effects will be – although some impacts of Romanian and Bulgarian free movement have already happened, with an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 people born in the A2 currently living in Britain.Still, the lifting of restrictions creates an expectation of increasing rates of immigration.