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Perfume Email Hoax

Outline
Circulating messages claim that criminals lurking in parking areas are using drugs disguised as perfume to debilitate and rob victims.

Sniffing Perfume

© Depositphotos.com/Mikhail Dudarev



Brief Analysis
The warnings are untrue and should not be taken seriously. They are just incarnations of a long running urban legend that has been passed around since at least the year 2000. The stories are derived from a 1999 case in which a woman in Alabama claimed to have been assaulted and robbed by assailants who used a debilitating substance disguised as perfume. The original story remains unsubstantiated and may well be untrue. And no credible police or news reports abouts such robbery methods have been published in the years since. Moreover, it would normally take more than one or two sniffs of a substance - even ether - to render a victim instantly unconscious. Versions of the "warning" have been set in several countries.

Examples
(Submitted via Facebook 2013)

Guys pass this on and make sure your kids know!!! Thank you.... I just got this forwarded to me- Pls, if anyone stops you and ask if you are interested in some perfumes and gives you a paper to smell, pls don't! It's a new scam. the paper is laced with drugs, You will pass out so they can rob you or do worse things to you, Pls forward to all friends and the family..save a life pls. Don't forget kids with phones!!!!! High TARGETS!!!


(Submitted via email 2004)
Subject: FW: PLEASE CIRCULATE...SERIOUS

This is something that happened to us on the way back from holiday last week. At first I didn't think much of it until now. The reason we were a little suspicious is we had been riding in a jeep all day with 100 degree temps and we stopped at a truck stop for something to drink. When I was leaving, a young girl followed me out and asked what kind of cologne I was wearing. Well, after 7 hours in the car sweating, I don't think you could tell if I was or was not wearing any cologne. We just got in the jeep and said no thanks. Then it was about 3 weeks ago, I was at a service station in Birmingham getting fuel. It was about 9:30 PM. I was approached by 2 men and 2 women in a car. The man that was driving asked me 'What kind of perfume do you wear?' I was a bit confused and I asked him 'Why?' He said, 'We are selling some name brand perfumes at cheap prices.' I told him I had no money. He then reached out of the car and handed me paper that was laminated; it had many perfumes on it. I looked quickly at it and gave it back. I said again that I had no money. He said, 'That's OK, we take check, cash, or credit cards.' Then the people in the car began to laugh. I just got in my car and said no thanks. Then I received this e-mail yesterday and it sent chills up my spine. Please read this; it is no joke. Here is the e-mail I was sent:

_____________________________________________________

Dear Friends:

I know not all of you are women that I am sending this to, but am hoping you will share this with your wives, daughters, mothers, sisters, etc. Be careful. I was approached yesterday afternoon around 5:30 PM in the ASDA carpark by two males asking what kind of perfume I was wearing. Then they asked if I'd like to sample some fabulous scent they were willing to sell me at very reasonable rate. I probably would have agreed had I not received an e-mail warning of a 'Wanna smell this neat perfume?' scam. The men continued to stand between parked cars, I guess to wait for someone else to hit on. I stopped a lady going towards them, pointing at them, and told her about how I was sent an e-mail at work about someone walking up to you at the malls or in carparks and asking you to SNIFF PERFUME that they are selling at a cheap price or at least compare to which one you like best. THIS IS NOT PERFUME...IT IS ETHER! When you sniff it, you'll pass out. They'll take your wallet, your valuables and heaven knows what else. If it were not for this e-mail, I probably would have sniffed the 'perfume', but thanks to the generosity of an e-mailing friend, I was spared whatever might have happened to me. I wanted to do the same for you.

____________________________________________________ PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG TO ALL YOUR WOMEN FRIENDS, AND PLEASE BE ALERT AND BE AWARE. IF YOU ARE A MAN AND RECEIVE THIS, PASS IT ON TO YOUR WOMEN FRIENDS.

Ladies, this happened to me yesterday and I didn't smell the perfume either, thanks to this email. This is true. Believe me, I know. I was over by Big Lots in the carpark at lunch time when I was approached. So either day or night, it does not matter. There were 3 guys together when I was approached. I called the police. Like the email says above, LET EVERYONE KNOW ABOUT THIS - YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, CO-WORKERS, whomever. It helped me. The first thing that popped into my head was this e-mail warning.


Detailed Analysis


According to this widely circulated warning message, criminals are using ether disguised as perfume as a means of debilitating and robbing victims. The message claims that the criminals are posing as parking lot perfume sellers and are asking passers-by to sniff their samples. Supposedly, the perfume is laced with a substance so powerful that the sniffers will immediately pass out, thus allowing the robbers to easily steal their possessions. A newer social-media driven variant claims that the robbers are presenting papers laced with knock-out perfume to victims for sniffing.

However, the warnings are just incarnations of a long running urban legend that has been passed around since at least the year 2000. Versions of the "warning" have been set in several countries, including the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Northern Ireland.

In 1999, Bertha Johnson of Mobile, Alabama claimed to have been assaulted and robbed by assailants who used a debilitating substance disguised as perfume. The story was reported by local media and soon made its way to the Internet and spread rapidly, morphing as it went. The tale changed from being a simple report about a single alleged incident to breathless warnings claiming that such attacks were common and widespread. But, there are no credible news or police reports that suggest that such robbery attempts are commonly occurring. In fact, even the original story may have been untrue. Later toxicology reports on samples of Johnson's blood and urine revealed no abnormal substances. And, when the alleged robbery took place, Johnson was in possession of a substantial sum of her employer's money.

Moreover, while ether is certainly capable of rendering a person unconscious, it would take considerably more than a casual sniff of the substance to achieve that aim. In fact, despite what movies and television dramas would have us believe, there are probably very few - if any - substances that would have such an instant knock-out effect after just one or two open-air sniffs.

Nevertheless, well over a decade later, versions of the warnings continue to hit inboxes and appear on social networking sites. As always, the warnings are never confirmed by any credible police or media reports. The old stories are probably given new life by sightings of real car park perfume sellers. Some perfume distributors may well employ mobile sales staff who may offer free samples to potential customers. Of course, the samples only contain perfume as claimed and the sellers have no sinister intentions ( other than to separate shoppers from their hard-earned).

There are several variations of the original story that circulate as separate warning messages. One falsely claims that several people have died after sniffing perfume samples sent to them in the mail. Another variant claims - again falsely - that criminals are using business cards laced with the drug burundanga to debilitate and control victims.

Northern Ireland Version:
This got sent to me - scarey stuff!!

This is something that happened to Brian and me on the way back from Malta last spring. I didn't think much of it until now.

The reason we were a little suspicious is we had been riding in a jeep all day with 86 degrees temps and we stopped at a motorway stop for something to drink. When I was leaving, a young girl followed me out and asked what kind of cologne I was wearing. Well, after 7 hours in the car sweating. I don't think you could tell I was or was not wearing any cologne. We just got in the jeep and said no thanks. So this does happen.

To all my female friends-

It was about 3 weeks ago, I was at the Shell station in Belfast getting diesel. It was about 11:30pm. I was approached by 2 men and 2 women in a car. The man that was driving asked me 'What kind of perfume do you wear?' I was a bit confused and I asked him 'Why?' He said 'We are selling some name brand perfumes, at cheap prices.' I said I had no money. He then reached out of the car and handed me paper that was laminated; it had many perfumes on it. I looked quickly at it and gave it back. I said, I have no money. He said it is OK, we take check, cash or credit cards. Then the people in the car began to laugh.

I just got in my car and said no thanks. Then I received this e-mail yesterday and it sent chills up my spine.

Please read this.

It is not joke.

Here is the e-mail I was sent-

Dear Friends:

I know not all of you are women that I am sending this to, but am hoping you will share this with your wives, daughters, mother, sisters, etc. Our world seems to be getting crazier by the day. Pipe bombs in mailboxes and sickos in parking lots with perfume. Be careful. I was approached yesterday fternoon around 3:30 PM in the Tesco car park near the University of Ulster when two males asked what kind of perfume I was wearing.

Then they asked if I'd like to sample some fabulous scent they were willing to sell me at a very reasonable rate. I probably would have agreed had I not received an e-mail some weeks ago warning of a 'Wanna smell this neat perfume?' scam. The men continued to stand between parked cars, I guess to wait for someone else to hit on. I stopped a lady going towards them, pointing at them and told her about how I was sent an e-mail at work about someone walking up to you at the malls or in parking lots and asking you to SNIFF PERFUME that they are selling at a cheap price.

THIS IS NOT PERFUME...IT IS ETHER!

When you sniff it, you'll pass out. They'll take your wallet, your valuables and heaven knows what else. If it were not for this e-mail, I probably would have sniffed the 'perfume'but thanks to the generosity of an e-mailing friend, I was spared whatever might have happened to me. I wanted to do the same for you.

PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG TO ALL YOUR WOMEN FRIENDS AND PLEASE BE ALERT AND BE AWARE. IF YOU ARE A MAN AND RECEIVE THIS, PASS IT ON TO YOUR WOMEN FRIENDS.

Ladies this happened to me yesterday and I didn't smell the perfume either,thanks to this email.

This is true.

Believe me, I know.

I was over by the car park at lunch time when I was approached. So either day or night, it does not matter. There were 3 guys together when I was approached. I called the police when I got back to my home.

Like the email says above,LET EVERYONE KNOW ABOUT THIS. YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, CO-WORKERS, whoever. It helped me. The first thing that popped into my head was this e-mail warning.


New Zealand Version:
Subject: Fw: women friends

This has been forwarded onto me....pass onto as many people as poss..this is no joke

To all my female friends-

It was about 3 weeks ago, I was at the Shell station in Lower Hutt getting gas. It was about 11:30pm. I was approached by 2 men and 2 women in a car. The man that was driving asked me 'What kind of perfume do you wear?' I was a bit confused and I asked him 'Why?' He said 'We are selling some name brand perfumes, at cheap prices.' I said I had no money. He then reached out of the car and handed me paper that was laminated; it had many perfumes on it. I looked quickly at it and gave it back. I said, I have no money. He said it is OK, we take check, cash or credit cards. Then the people in the car began to laugh.

I just got in my car and said no thanks.

Then I received this e-mail yesterday and it sent chills up my spine.

Please read this.

It is not joke.

Here is the e-mail I was sent-

Dear Friends:

I know not all of you are women that I am sending this to, but am hoping you will share this with your wives, daughters, mother, sisters, etc. Our world seems to be getting crazier by the day. Pipe bombs in mailboxes and sickos in parking lots with perfume. Be careful. I was approached yesterday afternoon around 3:30 PM in the Westfield car park in central Lower Hutt when two males asked what kind of perfume I was wearing.

Then they asked if I'd like to sample some fabulous scent they were willing to sell me at a very reasonable rate. I probably would have agreed had I not received an e-mail some weeks ago warning of a 'Wanna smell this neat perfume?' scam. The men continued to stand between parked cars, I guess to wait for someone else to hit on. I stopped a lady going towards them, pointing at them and told her about how I was sent an e-mail at work about someone walking up to you at the malls or in parking lots and asking you to SNIFF PERFUME that they are selling at a cheap price.

THIS IS NOT PERFUME...IT IS ETHER!

When you sniff it, you'll pass out. They'll take your wallet, your valuables and heaven knows what else. If it were not for this e-mail, I probably would have sniffed the 'perfume' but thanks to the generosity of an e-mailing friend, I was spared whatever might have happened to me. I wanted to do the same for you.

PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG TO ALL YOUR WOMEN FRIENDS AND PLEASE BE ALERT AND BE AWARE. IF YOU ARE A MAN AND RECEIVE THIS, PASS IT ON TO YOUR WOMEN FRIENDS.


Terrorist Perfume Hoax:
IMPORTANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SEVEN WOMEN HAVE DIED AFTER INHALING A FREE PERFUME SAMPLE THAT WAS MAILED TO THEM. THE PRODUCT WAS POISONOUS. IF YOU RECEIVE FREE SAMPLES IN THE MAIL SUCH AS LOTIONS, PERFUMES, DIAPERS, ETC. - THROW THEM AWAY!

THE GOVERNMENT IS AFRAID THAT THIS MIGHT BE ANOTHER TERRORIST ACT. T HEY WILL NOT ANNOUNCE IT ON THE NEWS BECAUSE THEY DO NOT WANT TO CREATE PANIC OR GIVE THE TERRORISTS NEW IDEAS.

SEND THIS TO ALL YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.


Last updated: June 12, 2013
First published: July 15, 2004
Written by Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Perfume Scam ('The Knockout Perfume')
WOMAN DAZED AFTER BEING ASKED TO SMELL UNKNOWN SUBSTANCE
Snatch and Sniff
Deaths From Free Perfume Samples Hoax
Burundanga Business Card Drug Warning