Home Hoaxes ‘Tip Off From SAPS’ Hoax Warning

‘Tip Off From SAPS’ Hoax Warning

by Brett M. Christensen

Message claiming to be a tip-off from the South African Police Service (SAPS) warns recipients that three men travelling in a red VW Golf are robbing houses by demonstrating household cleaning products that contain a substance that puts the householder to sleep.

Brief Analysis:
The warning is not from SAPS. It is just a silly hoax that has been circulating since at least 2014. There are no credible news or police reports that support the claims in the message. And, the message does not explain how the would be robbers remain unaffected by such a powerful substance while the hapless householder falls asleep.

THIS IS A TIP- OFF FROM SAPS!There are 3 guys moving around in a red Golf 2. They sell household products such as Handy Andy, Jik, dishwasher and special polish under the product name Abomama. It’s special because it shines the floors and all your furniture. Please tell every one not to buy these Abomama products no matter how cheap because while demonstrating to you, these products contain a substance that causes people to go into a deep sleep, and then they ROB you, Please be careful… Send to all family and friends – people
division: visible policing

Tip -Off From SAPS Hoax Warning

Detailed Analysis:
According to this circulating message, which claims to be a tip-off from the South African Police Service (SAPS), three men travelling in a red VW Golf are robbing houses by putting the hapless householders to sleep.  Supposedly, the trio claim to be selling cleaning products under the product name  ‘Abomama’. They offer to demonstrate one of the cleaning products, but a substance in the product causes the victim to fall into a deep sleep. The men can then rob the house and abscond in their red Golf to seek new victims. For added impact, the message includes the name and contact details of a SAPS police captain.

But, the message is just a hoax. And, it is certainly not an official SAPS ‘tip-off’.

In fact, the scenario described is highly improbable. First and foremost, how would the robbers themselves avoid the effects of the amazingly powerful substance emanating from the fake cleaning product? Perhaps they could don breathing apparatus before starting the demonstration, but one would think that this action would raise red flags for even the most gullible of potential victims. And, the warning does not state what substance would be so powerful that just a few sniffs in an open room could render a person unconscious. There are substances that might send a person to sleep if they are forced to directly breathe in large amounts of it.  But, I know of no chemical that would knock somebody out just by wafting through the air in a room as would happen during a cleaning product demonstration  Ether won’t. Even the infamous knock out drug burundanga won’t. So what is this stuff? If it existed and was so easily accessible by criminals, one would think that its use in robberies, rapes, and abductions would be much more wide spread and well documented. Especially if the criminals using the stuff could somehow make themselves immune from it so that it selectively knocked out only the targeted victim.

And, for the record, even though the warning supposedly comes from SAPS itself, there is nothing whatsoever about such robberies on the SAPS website.  And, despite the fact that versions of this story have been circulating since at least 2014, there are no credible news or police reports that support its claims.

In essence, this bogus warning is just another incarnation of a long running urban legend that claims (falsely) that robbers are knocking out and robbing victims by tricking them into sniffing perfume samples or business cards.

Sharing these nonsensical hoax warnings serves only to spread fear and alarm in communities. Not to mention that innocent red Golf drivers all over South Africa might be subject to undue suspicion and harassment. Especially if they happen to sell cleaning products.

Last updated: March 15, 2016
First published: March 15, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
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