Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: People have been killed by cyanide-laced ATM deposit envelopes.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1999]
Origins: Just when you thought danger couldn't possibly be lurking anywhere else, up pops a warning about poison-saturated deposit envelopes.
The above warning began circulating on the Internet in June 1999. It's just as false as the strychnine on payphones scare, another 1999 hoax about dangerous substances deliberately left on public machines. There are no such envelopes, and there hasn't been any such death.
When asked about the
"It's a hoax," said Kathleen Harte, manager of communications for Toronto Public Health. "We have no such person on staff. The public health department doesn't have a crime unit. There is no death to our knowledge that occurred. If somebody had died of cyanide poisoning we would have heard about this."
The Canadian Bankers Association said it doubts anyone took the
"I think people are smarter than that," said CBA spokesman Bliss Baker. I think the CBA is charming in its naivete.
In July 1999, the original text of this bit of scarelore was altered to indicate the poisoning had taken place at a Bank of America ATM and that the letter writer had just heard about this "at
This version is every bit as false as the previous one.
Barbara "may I have the envelope please?" Mikkelson
Last updated: 2 September 2006
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