Rumours are circulating social media that claims seven women have died after inhaling a free perfume sample that was mailed to them that turned out to be poisonous.
However, the rumours are entirely false, and have been spreading for a number of years in one form or another. A recent example of this particular hoax can be seen below from 2016 –
Very Important !
Please pass this on
URGENT News from Glen Eagles Hospital URGENT !!!!!
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 . They will not announce it in the news because they do not want to create panic or give the terrorists new ideas.
Send this Fwd: to all your friends and family members.
Diane J. Ford
Office of the Chief of Police
Office of Risk Management
101 M Street , SW
Washington , DC,
The warning above also asserts that this is an “act of terrorism” and also makes the extremely logically-dubious claim that it has not been announced on the news because it may “give the terrorists new ideas“.
A week after the September 11th 2001 attacks, a series of letters containing anthrax spores arrived at various media outlets (and the offices of two US senators) resulting in the deaths of five people. It was this attack that either served at the inspiration – or at least the fuel – for the persistent hoaxes that assert women are dying as a result of poisonous mail arriving in their letterbox.
Ever since those attacks in 2001, erroneous chain email letters, SMS messages or social networking “copy & paste” chains have surfaced, all claiming that women are being emailed free perfume or detergent samples that turn out to be highly poisonous, resulting in fatal consequences for their recipients.
However, extensive research fails to find any instances of any such attacks ever being reported by media, and the various people or entities attributed to issuing the various warnings have themselves rebuked the claims. The following, very similar version of this warning can be traced back to 2002.
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.
A subsequent version attributed the warning as coming from CNN and claimed it was Tide detergent samples containing the poison.
TO ALL FACEBOOK FRIENDS : CNN has issued a warning!!!! If you get anything in the mail pertaining to Tide (Detergent) DON’T OPEN IT! Toss It immediately (ANTHRAX) 7 people have died !!1 Please do not take this lightly !!!
However a look at the CNN website reveals no story released by the media outlet matching the above description.
Perhaps the most widely distributed version of this hoax is the one we started with above, that attributes the warning as coming from Glen Eagles Hospital. However the hospital themselves have also denied ever making such a warning –
POISONOUS PERFUME SAMPLE HOAX
Recently, an email and short message service (SMS) has been circulating amongst members of the public pertaining to a poisonous perfume sample which caused the death of seven women upon inhalation and exposure. It was purportedly sent by a person who claimed to be an employee of Gleneagles Hospital Limited, on behalf of the hospital, in order to warn the public as these seven women were supposedly admitted and treated at Gleneagles Hospital.
We understand the panic and mystification that this email has caused and the public’s need to seek verification and consolation from a reliable medical institution such as ours. Thus, we would like to highlight that we have never admitted or treated such patients and have never been aware of such incidences. We would also like to categorically state that this email did not originate from our Hospital and / or any of our employees, current or otherwise. In addition, we declare that no one was ever at any time commissioned or authorised by the Hospital to deliver and circulate such warnings. Further to this, we would also like to point out that our registered company name is Gleneagles Hospital (Kuala Lumpur) Sdn. Bhd. (Co. No. 198498-T) and we were never at any point known as Gleneagles Hospital Limited as claimed in the email.
This email hoax first surfaced five years ago, and we had posted a statement on the GIMC website to clarify and inform members of the public that the contents of the email were a hoax.
In view of the above, we sincerely hope that all members of the public who had read this email and our clarification will inform everyone around them that this is a hoax and urge everyone to ignore and delete such emails in the future. Thank you.
Since 2002, dozens of variants – far too many to list here – have circulated, each focused on either a specific geographical location, means of distribution, different product used as a conduit or attributing the warning to a different source. To date, none of them have been true.