Fake Missing Person Reports Popping Up On Facebook
Police are urging people to think twice before sharing information they find on social media.
Fake social media posts with reports of missing people have been popping up on Facebook.
The posts often appear in local buy and sell groups and end up being shared hundreds of times.
Cpl. Hans Ouellette with the New Brunswick RCMP said people need to be wary when sharing things online.
“Individuals that are surfing online or that are on their social media should be accepting information that comes from a valid, appropriate source,” Ouellette said in an interview.
That includes RCMP social media accounts or those of your local police force, said Ouellette, along with local media outlets.
Many of the fake posts are shared in multiple Facebook groups with identical text, the only difference being the name of the city from which the person is professed to be missing.
Comments on the original post are usually turned off, making it harder for people to warn others that it is fake.
Creators frequently edit the posts later to display ads aiming to collect your personal information.
The original posts often mention that a Silver Alert has been issued. These alerts are used in some jurisdictions when a vulnerable adult goes missing.
Ouellette said that should be another indication to social media users that the post is fake.
“New Brunswick, or at least the RCMP, does not issue specifically what you would call a Silver Alert. Those alerts have been issued in other provinces and other jurisdictions but we don’t have access to that here,” he said.
Police can issue an AMBER Alert if certain criteria are met or can use the province’s Alert Ready system in the event of a critical incident, said Ouellette.
Mounties encourage people to report these fake posts through the proper reporting process of the particular social media page where they are posted.
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