On 15 July 2009, a missing child hoax spread across the U.S. and into Canada via cell phone text message. While certain elements of the message were altered to geotarget the bulletin to local recipients (e.g., it included a city or state name, or a street widely known to area residents), the meat of the alert remained the same: a three-year-old girl had been abducted by a man in a new silver-colored truck bearing a license plate of
Even as the "alert" jumped from cell phone to cell phone (and was additionally posted to blogs and tweeted on Twitter, the latter even by Missouri Senator Jason Crowell), police agencies in various localities were issuing denials that there had been such an abduction or that an Amber Alert for the child described had been issued.
The 15 July 2009 text message missing child hoax was a variation of a June 2009 missing child hoax spread in
Over Memorial Day weekend of 2006, three-year-old Jewel Strong of Jonesboro, Georgia, was vacationing with her family at a beachside spot in
Her family did not accept that the little girl had drowned and so circulated appeals for help in finding the child included a photograph of Jewel Strong. That same photo was teamed by hoaxsters in the June 2009 "missing child"
****AMBER ALERT ****
***3-YR-OLD GIRL ***
TAKEN BY A MAN DRIVING A NEWER SILVER TRUCK IN IDAHO FALLS, IDAHO.
** LICENSE PLATE NUMBER... 72B381. ***
"PLEASE KEEP THIS GOING!!".
WHAT IF THIS WAS YOUR LITTLE GIRL?
if she was your daughter, you would forward it.
Missing 3 year Old Girl -
You never know, who knows whom.
PLEASE HELP US BY FORWARDING THIS EMAIL UNTIL THIS REACHES A WORLD-WIDE AUDIENCE AND JEWEL IS RETURNED HOME
The text of the June 2009 e-mail hoax (suitably stripped down to remove extraneous information, including Jewel's name and photo) was reworked into a text message sent to cell phones in July 2009. Notice that the