Jul 15

Amber AlertI just received a Amber Alert Hoax via SMS message from two well meaning friends.

If you don’t know what a Amber Alert is you can read up on the history of this service in Wikipedia: Amber Alert.

“An AMBER Alert is a child abduction alert bulletin in the United States and Canada, as well as other countries, issued upon the suspected abduction of a child. AMBER is officially a backronym for “America’s Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response” but was originally named for Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old child who was abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas in 1996.”

A Amber Alert Hoax like the one I received can cause people to call the police and clog up their phone lines.

Here is the message that I received:

“Amber alert 3 yr old girl taken by a man driving a new silver truck plate 72B381 KEEP IT going so they can find her.”

If you don’t know what a SMS messages is check out Wikipedia: SMS for more information.

The first thing that when through my mind was why is there not information telling where this happened. If this was Aylmer, ON area I think I would go out in my car and watch for this truck. Of course if it happened in Los Angles, CA it is not of a lot of meaning here.

So I called the first person that sent it to me. He was from the Aymer area but was just passing it on. My second thought was this may be a hoax. So instead of calling the police I checked it out on the Internet and found out that it as a Amber Alert Hoax.

Amber Alert Via SMSYou can see a example of what will be in a real SMS Amber Alert in the picture to the left.

In real SMS Amber Alert you will find the following information: “A description of the physical characteristics of the child and suspect, along with the make and model of the vehicle being used, is listed in the message, followed by a contact number for the investigating jurisdiction’s law enforcement department.”

If a Amber Alert SMS doesn’t have this information you should question where it is a hoax.

The first place I when was the main Amber Alert site which is a Government site. They have a link to all Active AMBER Alerts in US and Canada. This page will show you all the active Amber Alerts.

Code Amber is another good site that has a Code Amber News Service that shows all Amber Alert news. It shows issued and canceled Amber Alerts and press releases of software and hardware products for tracking your children. It’s a good read!

On this site there is a Amber Alert Updates page that has the following update for July 15, 2009.

“This hoax originated in February, 2009 and is now apparently back in circulation. We have seen numerous news items and we have received many email inquires in the past 24 hours. Please do not forward the Amber Alert text message. The Amber Alert for a 7 year old girl abducted by someone in a silver truck is a hoax being spread by text message to cell phones. The hoax apparently originated in Utah on February 7th. Please do not forward this message and inform whomever sent it to you that is not a real Amber Alert.”

If you want to see how fast these things travel just take a look at the first 100 entries of the license plate number 72B381 on Google. This thing is all over the place.

While I was writing this post I received two more SMS messages that were the same from friends.

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