CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - At least twice now, here in our area, social media hoaxes have caught many people off guard.
These hoaxes, which have shown up on several different social media platforms, focus around a young female being kidnapped from a public venue and rendered unconscious by her abductors with the use of the chemical chloroform.
We all know that social media has proven to be a viable way of communicating legitimate news and information. But when nefarious individuals set about to misinform the general public, then these same social media portals have proven to work just as well for them. Hence, the recent hoaxes of abductions.
So how are these happening? Unknown persons, as of now, are placing a very detailed description of an incident, generally involving someone's daughter or a young female, online reporting that she has been kidnapped using chloroform.
It is falsely reported that the abduction has taken place from some prominent public venue, generally a mall, etc. Almost immediately, others are reading this information and passing it along their social media chain. Needless to say, word spreads quickly.
The Charlotte area is not the only location in the US to be experiencing these recent hoaxes. I have been told of at least two other cities that have also experienced the same similar incidents.
You can prevent being duped by these hoaxes by first verifying the news source they are coming from. It is often easy to tell which are legitimate and which are not simply by looking at the internet address and pulling up that address yourself if you are curious as to the source.
Second, if the news source looks questionable, then contact the venue themselves. Most large public venues either have a customer service number of a contact number for their security department. Finally, if you are still not certain if the incident did or did not occur, you can contact the local police department from that jurisdiction.
Most certainly, reported incidents such as actual abductions from a public venue, will not appear on social media without having been reported to some official source.
While we all enjoy the vast access that social media provides us, we still must be alert to those who choose to misinform us with their sensationalized hysteria.