10/09/13 Update: This version now circulating via Facebook is actually a few years old (see reader comments below), and still false:
URGENT!!!! FILLETTE DE 3 ANS A ÉTÉ ENLEVÉE À ST-GEORGES-DE-BEAUCE PAR 1 HOMME CONDUISANT 1 CAMION GRIS PLAQUÉ QUÉBEC 645 ZZT. COPIEZ ET COLLEZ DANS VOTRE FACEBOOK,ÇA POURRAIT LUI SAUVER LA VIE! faites circuler ca prend 2 minutes
12/05/12 Update: Circulating again on Facebook:
Remember, you can verify all Amber Alerts nationwide by checking the Active Amber Alerts page of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
12/11/11 Update: Currently trending on Tumblr (and still false):
A Little girl, 3 yrs. old picked up by a man driving a gray car, license plate: Quebec 72B 381. Canada. Reblog this. It could save her. The Kidnapping is recent so do it.
08/18/11 Update: New version of the ever-changing alert claims the kidnapping incident occurred in Miami. Other details are the same as before:
AMBER ALERT !!!!!!! Miami - Little girl, 3 yrs. old picked up by a man driving a gray car, license plate: Quebec 72B 381. Canada. PLEASE RE-post ASAP. It could save her. The Kidnapping is recent so do it, 3 seconds will not kill you. If it were your child u would want the same support!!!
Help STOP this hoax by sharing this article!
08/12/11 Update: New version of the false alert no longer specifies Edmonton, KY as the location but still claims a 3-year-old child was kidnapped by a man driving a grey car, Quebec license plate #72B 281, Canada:
Little girl, 3 yrs. old picked up by a man driving a gray car, license plate: Quebec 72B 381. Canada. PLEASE RE-BROADCAST ASAP. It could save her. The Kidnapping is recent so do it, 3 seconds will not kill you. If it were your child u would want the same support
08/04/11 Update: The "72B 381" Amber Alert hoax is making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter again. It's still false (see history below). As of the past few months, the viral text now claims the alleged abduction took place in Edmonton, Kentucky, and that the perpetrator's car has a Quebec license plate:
AMBER ALERT!!! Edmonton, Kentucky USA little girl, 3 yrs old picked up by man driving grey car, license plate: Quebec 72B 381. Canada. Put this as your status. It could save her. This kidnapping is recent so do it, 3 seconds will not kill you. If it were your child.... what would you want people to do. Just now happening!!!!! please...
04/19/10 Update: After a weekend lull, the "72B381" Amber Alert hoax is going strong again on Facebook. New variant claims it's a Washington state license plate:
A little Boy, 5 years old was picked up by a man driving a grey car, license was plated Washington 72B 381. Copy and paste this as your status. It could save that little boy. This kidnapping is recent! So do it, 3 seconds won't kill you. We should have Amber Alerts posted in FB automatically from a friend to pass it on!
04/15/10 Update: The Amber Alert hoax is currently running rampant on Facebook, with the latest variants claiming a 3-year-old girl was abducted in either Edmonton, Alberta or Edmonton, Kentucky by a man driving a grey car with Quebec license plates, number 72B 381.
AMBER ALERT!!! In Edmonton ALBERTA - A little girl, 3 years old was picked up by a man driving a grey car lisecnse was plated Quebec 72B 381. Copy 'n paste this as your status. It could save that little girl. This kiddnapping is recent! so do it, 3 seconds won't kill you. Spread the word
AMBER ALERT!!!!!!!! In Edmonton, Ky - A little girl, 3 years old was picked up by a man driving a grey car, license was plated Quebec 72B 381. Copy and paste this as your status. it could save that little girl. This kidnapping is recent! so do it, 3 seconds will not kill you spread the word!
09/22/09 Update: FAKE AMBER ALERT now circulating simultaneously in Morgan Hill and Newbury Park, California.
Amber alert: 3 yr old girl taken by a man in Morgan hill driving a new silver yukon NY plates 72B381. KEEP IT G0ING!
RT AMBER ALERT: 3 yro girl taken by man driving a new silver Yukon NY Plates 72B 381. KEEP IT GOING She's frm Newbury Park
09/08/09 Update: That months-old Amber Alert hoax is circulating again, this time localized in Stockton, California. False Twitter message reads as follows:
AMBER ALERT! 3 YR old GIRL taken from STOCKTON, CA by MAN driving NEW SILVER TRUCK plate 72B381. Please pass this on!
07/13/09 Update: The same fake Amber Alert that fooled tens of thousands of people last February is making the Twitter rounds again, with a vengeance. The only essential change is that the text now claims the abducted child is three years old, not seven. The locale is currently specified as Idaho Falls, Idaho. (Your updates are welcome below.)
If you receive this message or any variant thereof, please inform all senders it's a hoax:
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
Originally Posted 02/10/09: It's a veritable case study in how fast and how far hoaxes can mutate and spread via social media.
An unofficial Amber Alert that apparently originated in Salt Lake City last Sunday night crisscrossed the country over the following two days, convincing well-meaning text messagers and Twitter users from Maryland to California that a 7-year-old girl in their state had been abducted by a man driving a "newer silver truck" with the license plate number 72B381.
The message is false. Police say there are no real missing-person cases fitting that description.
A very early version of the alert read as follows:
FWD: FWD: FW: AMBER ALERT A 7 yr old girl was taken by a man driving a newer silver truck. The license plate reads 72b381 please please pass on.
By the time Utah authorities disavowed the bogus message on Monday, it had already spread to Wisconsin...
Retweet: AMBER ALERT. A seven year old girl was taken by a man driving a newer silver truck. license plate # 72B381 Menomonie area FWD PLZ
...not to mention Woodward, Oklahoma...
AMBER ALERT!! A 7yr old girl was taken from Woodward by a man driving a newer silver truck plate # 72B381, please forward!
...and on to Tulsa...
TULSA AMBER ALERT - 7 year old girl taken from woodward park by man in newer silver truck with plate number 72B381
From there, the Amber Alert hoax migrated to Fresno, California; Yuma, Arizona; Mahnomen, Minnesota; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Albany, Oregon; and many points in between. As of this writing, the bogus message is still circulating at a rapid clip in parts of Ohio and spreading into Iowa.
The geographical progression of the hoax can be roughly tracked by examining the Twitter search results for messages (several hundred of them so far, and counting) containing the bogus license plate number, "72B381."
FYI, Amber Alerts can (and clearly should) be authenticated by checking the Active Amber Alerts page on the website of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Read more about it:
• Akron Police Say Amber Alert Is a Hoax
• Calls from Phony Amber Alert Bog Down Police
• Iowa Says Amber Alert Reports Are False
• Amber Alert About Missing Albany Girl Apparently a Hoax
• There Is No Amber Alert in Maryland
• Bogus Amber Alert: There's No 7-Year-Old Girl Missing