Police field dozens of calls over false social media posts about homeowners being pepper sprayed
After more than 30 calls in the last 24 hours, police say there's no validity to the claim
Hamilton Police are reporting dozens of calls regarding a false social media post about someone going door-to-door selling chocolates and then subsequently pepper spraying the homeowner.
In a post on Twitter, Hamilton police said they received more than 30 calls over a 24-hour period relating to the online posts, which investigators have subsequently determined to be a hoax.
"HPS has NOT received any calls from victims. This is reaching far and wide," Hamilton police said in a tweet.
Const. Krista-Lee Ernst said it appears the posts are showing up on all social media platforms across the country and being shared over and over again.
However, when police have responded to calls where residents raised concerns about door-to-door sales people they've determined concerns about residents being pepper sprayed are "unsubstantiated," she said.
Ernst said there may be door-to-door sales happening in the city and people's senses and anxiety may be "heightened" because of the pandemic, however the information that's being shared online is false.
Hamilton isn't the only city where police are addressing post about pepper spraying.
In a video shared on Twitter Const. Akhil Mooken with Peel Regional Police said investigators have also looked into the post and found "there is no validity" to it.
"We have not received any reports in regards to anybody being pepper sprayed," he added.
'No validity to these claims'
Mooken is urging people who see the post in their social media feed not to share it.
"We don't want to alarm the community especially when there is no validity to these claims that are being made," he said.
"If you have been the victim of a crime including one of being pepper sprayed by somebody that came to your door, do call police and report it to us so that we can look into this.
"But at this time we have not received any reports of anyone being pepper sprayed by a door-to-door salesperson," Mooken added.
Hey <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HamOnt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HamOnt</a>, upwards of 30+ calls for service in the last 24h, relating to online posts circulating on social media. HPS has NOT received any calls from victims. This is reaching far and wide. Please visit <a href="https://t.co/6h2vHwZCN6">https://t.co/6h2vHwZCN6</a> for safety tips. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StaySafe?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StaySafe</a> <a href="https://t.co/OfIZvvGPlW">https://t.co/OfIZvvGPlW</a>—@HamiltonPolice
Ernst shared a similar message, asking any Hamilton residents who are victims to come forward, but stressing that so far police have not received any credible reports of the type of incident described on social media.