August 25, 2010

Widespread Fake Amber Alerts

I wanted to take this time to let you all know about Fake Amber Alerts that are running rampant across the Internet and how to authenticate them.

An AMBER Alert or a Child Abduction Emergency is a child abduction alert bulletin issued upon the suspected abduction of a child.

Fake Amber Alert

Yesterday morning I received a text message from my 24-yr old daughter about an Amber Alert that went something like this:

“AMBER ALERT!!!!! A 3yr old boy taken in Stockton by a man driving a ’96 BMW plate #98B351NM. Keep it going. U would if he was urs!!”

Now, my first thought reaction was…“oh shoot, not again?!” – I then immediately went over to my Website, Police-Scanner.info, to confirm the alert.

You see, I have a “Code Amber Alert Ticker” (figure 1) prominently displayed on my mainpage and any active Amber Alert (figure 2) would be displayed on a live rolling ticker at which time you can click on an alert to view detailed information on the alert itself.

Figure 1

Figure 2
Upon viewing the Code Amber ticker on my site, I did not see an alert for California so I went over to the Code Amber website (link below) to see all active alerts and found that there was no such alert issued in California.

It was then that I figured this had to be a hoax so I headed on over to Snopes.com, the Hoax/Urban Legends Reference site to see if it was listed as a hoax.

Low and behold, it was a hoax. It turns out that fake Amber Alerts are a common occurance on the net and and are spread via Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging. (You can read about it for yourself here)

Authenticating Amber Alerts

Amber Alerts are a serious matter as it involves the abduction of a child. If you see an Amber Alert on Facebook or Twitter or receive an alert via text message, before forwarding it to everyone in your address book, verify its authenticity by checking the Active Amber Alerts page (link below) on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Website (link below) or the Code Amber Website (link below).

This way we can all do our part to limit the propagation of such fake alerts and forward real Amber Alert where real children are in danger.

Related Links of Interest
Got a comment about this post? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

That's all for now, till next time, stay safe.

-Ruben Flores
Bloghost & Webmaster @ Police-Scanner.info

1 comment:

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