Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Amber Alerts — fake and real — spread on Twitter

By John Bowman, CBCNews.ca

Yesterday, two different Amber Alerts made it to Twitter's tending topics. One was fake; one was real. Can you tell the difference?

AMBER ALERT: W States- 4 Hispanic kids ages 4-9, in 98 Mercury Sable. Nevada plates #369SDH. Kids' last name: Mata-Martinez
RT **AMBER ALERT** 3 YR OLD GIRL WAS TAKEN BY A MAN DRIVING A NEWER SILVER TRUCK IN IDAHO FALLS,ID LIC. PLATE #72B381. KEEP it goin

The first one is a real Amber Alert issued Sunday in California and Nevada. The second one is a fake alert that's been circulating in email forwards since at least February. In an earlier version of the message, the girl was said to be seven years old, not three.

As readers of Snopes.com know, nuisance Amber Alert messages fall broadly into two categories: Genuine reports that continue to circulate long after the child in question has been found, and fake alerts for children who aren't missing or don't exist.

Well-meaning folks will forward these emails and, now, retweet the details of an Amber Alert without checking if they're real or current. This diminishes the effectiveness of the Amber Alert system.

If you're tempted to spread the word about an Amber Alert, be sure to check the website of the U.S. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which lists all the current Amber Alerts.

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

Comments

Leanne

Ontario

My sister just sent me the fake one in a text 10 mins ago, she thought it just happened. I looked it up and found this article. So annoying, freaking out about something that is a scam! Friggin people...get a life!!!

Posted July 15, 2009 06:04 PM

Alex Shetsen

Edmonton

I've always wondered about real effectiveness of Amber Alerts. Not only are there no reliable figures about the rates of recovery widely available, but the whole tactic seems just one more police encouragement of endless hysteria: very unhealthy.

Posted July 16, 2009 01:30 PM

Pumpkin Eater

Edmonton

You would think the real Amber Alert would include a date and time, as well as location.

Posted July 17, 2009 11:54 AM

Chris

HINT: Stop forwarding in general. Fake amber alerts are just one way to waste everyone's time. There are plenty of others.

Try googling the next story you're thinking about forwarding. I would bet a lot of money you'll find it listed as an urban legend or spam.

Posted July 20, 2009 11:44 AM

Jodi Marie

Lloydminster

I got a msg on my phone last week about an amber alert for a child taken in saskatoon. of course i passed it on but did some looking around after. nothing was ever reported and i havent heard anything since. i feel dumb about passing it on now but at the time i thought it was a genuine alert.
not cool.

Posted July 20, 2009 12:32 PM

Yan Charpentier

I just got it on Facebook from my mom who had posted it on her status. I was going to pass it on my status and in a chat room, a woman from Toronto told me it was fake and gave me the link for this site to check it out for proof....

Posted July 23, 2009 10:30 PM

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment

Disclaimer:

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

CBC IN MEXICO Migrants coming through Central American corridor wonder what's next as they dream of Canada
With European borders tightening and increased anti-immigration anxiety in the United States, a rising number of migrants from as far away as Africa and Asia are turning to the Central American migrant corridor in the hopes of reaching a new promised land: Canada. CBC spoke with several of them this week in Mexico.
Major discovery on planets 'beyond our solar system' coming from NASA
NASA scientists will hold a news conference later this afternoon, when they say they'll reveal a significant finding "beyond our solar system."
Republican members of Congress hear from angry constituents at town halls
Republican Representative David Brat, who rode voter anger to a historic political upset nearly three years ago, was on the receiving end of constituent angst about the Trump administration as he held a town hall in Virginia.
more »

Canada »

'Excited over the simple things': First Nation enjoys turning on the taps after 10 years without clean water
Makayla McWatch had her first sip of tap water last summer — at age 11. Her community, Pic Mobert First Nation, spent a decade under a boil-water advisory. It's one of 18 Indigenous communities to recently get off the federal government's long-term water list. But at the same time, a dozen more were added.
Do we still need 3 square meals a day and breakfast in the morning?
Meal times and eating habits are changing across Canada, driven in part by fast-paced lifestyles, along with a force that is influencing so much else: the millennial generation and how they want to live. And two fast-food restaurants are taking notice, rolling out all-day breakfast across the country this month.
OpenSignal ranking of mobile data speeds places Canada 12th out of 87 countries
An international ranking of mobile networks has found that Canadians have some of the fastest data speeds in the world.
more »

Politics »

CBC IN MEXICO Migrants coming through Central American corridor wonder what's next as they dream of Canada
With European borders tightening and increased anti-immigration anxiety in the United States, a rising number of migrants from as far away as Africa and Asia are turning to the Central American migrant corridor in the hopes of reaching a new promised land: Canada. CBC spoke with several of them this week in Mexico.
Ottawa to invest in 'fisheries innovation' for Atlantic Canada following EU trade deal
With Canada's trade deal with the European Union on track to come into force provisionally within weeks, the federal government is set to announce a new fisheries innovation fund. Just don't call it compensation, Dominic LeBlanc says.
'Excited over the simple things': First Nation enjoys turning on the taps after 10 years without clean water
Makayla McWatch had her first sip of tap water last summer — at age 11. Her community, Pic Mobert First Nation, spent a decade under a boil-water advisory. It's one of 18 Indigenous communities to recently get off the federal government's long-term water list. But at the same time, a dozen more were added.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Chris Brown ordered to stay away from ex-girlfriend
A judge has ordered R&B singer Chris Brown to stay away from his ex-girlfriend after she accused him of physically abusing and threatening her.
Video Buffy Sainte-Marie, Tanya Tagaq collaborate on new song
The two powerhouses of Canada's Indigenous music scene pay tribute to a legendary Alaska dog sled racer in their new collaboration.
Artists seek $1.25M for Bowie memorial in London
Artists and activists want to create a permanent memorial to rock icon David Bowie in the London neighbourhood where he was born.
more »

Technology & Science »

Major discovery on planets 'beyond our solar system' coming from NASA
NASA scientists will hold a news conference later this afternoon, when they say they'll reveal a significant finding "beyond our solar system."
OpenSignal ranking of mobile data speeds places Canada 12th out of 87 countries
An international ranking of mobile networks has found that Canadians have some of the fastest data speeds in the world.
Opinion The world needs digital rules of war
Like its namesake, this digital Geneva Convention would aim to protect civilians from being caught in the virtual crossfire of cyberwarfare.
more »

Money »

OpenSignal ranking of mobile data speeds places Canada 12th out of 87 countries
An international ranking of mobile networks has found that Canadians have some of the fastest data speeds in the world.
Sean Cooper wiped out his mortgage in 3 years — and now he offers advice in new book
Sean Cooper took extreme measures to wipe out his $255,000 mortgage in just three years. Now he's written an advice book to help others free themselves of a mortgage faster.
CRA's new fingerprinting policy could create travel problems for accused tax evaders
The Canada Revenue Agency has begun fingerprinting every person charged with tax evasion, which ensures every accused will be registered in the Canadian Police Information Centre database. The move could create serious travel problems for some Canadians who haven't had their day in court.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Heather Nedohin steps in for injured Kleibrink at Hearts video
Holding Alberta's broom at the Canadian women's curling championship made Heather Nedohin realize how much she missed it.
Profile Mirela Rahneva using her inner Ronda Rousey to star on skeleton track video
Mirela Rahneva's combined explosiveness off the skeleton start block and improved mental strength has allowed the 2018 Canadian Olympic hopeful to reach the podium four times in seven events in her rookie season on the World Cup circuit.
Recap Matthews' Leafs get last laugh on Laine's Jets video
Jake Gardiner scored in overtime Tuesday night as Auston Matthews' Toronto Maple Leafs prevailed 5-4 over Patrik Laine's Winnipeg Jets.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »