Online messages claim that criminals are handing women business cards laced with a drug that will eventually render the woman unconscious or otherwise incapacitated, making her vulnerable to an attack or mugging.
These rumours have been spreading online since around 2008 and occasionally pop up again in a different form, but most claim the drug used by these criminals is called burundanga. For example the below version first spread in 2012 and again in 2017 –
POLICE WARNING!! Police Warning Ladies: If you are a female, take heed! If you are male and have a significant female in your life who you care about, whether it’s your wife, your girlfriend, your daughter, your sister, your niece, your cousin, your next door neighbor; whomever…………..pass this along! Always, “Better safe than sorry!” A man came over and offered his services as a painter to a female putting gas in her car and left his card. She said no, but accepted his card out of courtesy and got in her car. The man then got into a car driven by another gentleman. As the lady left the service station, she saw the men following her out of the station at the same time. Almost immediately, she started to feel dizzy and could not catch her breath. She tried to open the window and realized that the odor was on her hand; the same hand which accepted the card from the gentleman at the gas station. She then noticed the men were immediately behind her and she felt she needed to do something at that moment. She drove into the first driveway and began to honk her horn repeatedly to ask for help. The men drove away but the lady still felt pretty bad for several minutes after she could finally catch her breath. Apparently, there was a substance on the card that could have seriously injured her. This drug is called ‘BURUNDANGA’ and it is used by people who wish to incapacitate a victim in order to steal from or take advantage of them. This drug is four times more dangerous than the date rape drug and is transferable on simple cards. So take heed and make sure you don’t accept cards at any given time you are alone or from someone on the streets. This applies to those making house calls and slipping you a card when they offer their services.
That version may have very well been based on an earlier permutation from 2008 – this one identifying the victim (unhelpfully) as “Jamie Rodriquezs neighbour” –
This incident has been confirmed. Ladies please be careful and share w/everyone you know!
This can happen anywhere!
And Another Warning . . . Last Wednesday, Jaime Rodriguezs neighbor was at a gas station in Katy. A man came and offered his neighbor his services as a painter and gave her a card. She took the card and got in her car.
The man got into a car driven by another person. She left the station and noticed that the men were leaving the gas station at the same time. Almost immediately, she started to feel dizzy and could not catch her breath.
She tried to open the windows and in that moment she realized that there was a strong odor from the card. She also realized that the men were following her. The neighbor went to another neighbors house and honked on her horn to ask for help. The men left, but the victim felt bad for several minutes.
Apparently there was a substance on the card, the substance was very strong and may have seriously injured her.
Jaime checked the Internet and there is a drug called Burundanga that is used by some people to incapacitate a victim in order to steal or take advantage of them. Please be careful and do not accept anything from unknown people on the street.
These tales have more than a passing resemblance to other urban legends that have circulated social media and email in the last decade or so, perhaps most notably the “free perfume sample” hoax that claimed criminals were rendering women unconscious by asking them to smell a perfume sample that was actually a powerful incapacitating drug.
Just like that urban legend, these warnings fail to explain how such brief contact with a drug could render a women vulnerable to attack. Burundanga is indeed a real drug, most commonly used in South American, especially Colombia (but not in the United States or the UK) but for the drug to take hold, it would need to be ingested or at the very least inhaled. Merely handling a business card tainted with such a drug would not be sufficient to have any effect on a victim.
Variants of this alarmist myth have – as is typical with urban legends – placed the tale in many locations, such as Katy, Missouri, Essex (UK), the West Midlands (UK), Canada and South Africa. In fact in 2008 an officer working for the Essex Police Department in the UK unwittingly caused a re-surge of the hoax after he sent a query to other officers regarding the legend which was accidentally leaked to the public. The mistake led to the Essex Police refuting the tale as a hoax.
This a long running hoax and we don’t recommend spreading it.