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Dial 112 to Contact Police in Emergency?

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Dial 112 For Police Sean Murphy / Getty Images

In this viral story, a female college student pursued by a cop impersonator is rescued by a real police officer after dialing 112 (or *112, or #112) emergency number on her cell phone.

Description: Forwarded email / Viral text
Circulating since: 2002 (different versions)
Status: FALSE (see details below)


2013 example:
As posted on Facebook, Feb. 16, 2013:

EVERYBODY SHOULD READ THIS!!!!!!!!!

WARNING: Some knew about the red light on cars, but not Dialing 112.

An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her and put his lights on. Lauren's parents have always told her to never pull over for an unmarked car on the side of the road, but rather to wait until they get to a gas station, etc.

Lauren had actually listened to her parents advice, and promptly called, 112 on her cell phone to tell the police dispatcher that she would not pull over right away. She proceeded to tell the dispatcher that there was an unmarked police car with a flashing red light on his rooftop behind her. The dispatcher checked to see if there were police cars where she was and there weren't, and he told her to keep driving, remain calm and that he had back up already on the way.

Ten minutes later 4 cop cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind her. One policeman went to her side and the others surrounded the car behind. They pulled the guy from the car and tackled him to the ground. The man was a convicted rapist and wanted for other crimes.

I never knew about the 112 Cell Phone feature. I tried it on my AT&T phone & it said, "Dialing Emergency Number." Especially for a woman alone in a car, you should not pull over for an unmarked car. Apparently police have to respect your right to keep going on to a safe place.

*Speaking to a service representative at Bell Mobility confirmed that 112 was a direct link to State trooper info. So, now it's your turn to let your friends know about "Dialing, 112"

You may want to send this to every Man, Woman & Youngster you know; it may well save a life.

This applies to ALL 50 states



2010 example:
Email text contributed by A&J Ogden, June 16, 2010:

*112 may save your life

Some knew about the red light on cars, but not the *112.

It was about 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon, and Lauren was driving to visit a friend. An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her and put his lights on. Lauren's parents have always told her never to pull over for an unmarked car on the side of the road, but rather to wait until they get to a gas station, etc.

Lauren had actually listened to her parents advice, and promptly called *112 on her cell phone to tell the police dispatcher that she would not pull over right away. She proceeded to tell the dispatcher that there was an unmarked police car with a flashing red light on his rooftop behind her. The dispatcher checked to see if there were police cars where she was and there weren't, and he told her to keep driving, remain calm and that he had back up already on the way.

Ten minutes later 4 cop cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind her. One policeman went to her side and the others surrounded the car behind. They pulled the guy from the car and tackled him to the ground. The man was a convicted rapist and wanted for other crimes.

I never knew about the *112 Cell Phone Feature, but especially for a woman alone in a car, you should not pull over for an unmarked car. Apparently police have to respect your right to keep going to a safe place.

*Speaking to a service representative at ** Bell ** Mobility confirmed that *112 was a direct link to State trooper info. So, now it's your turn to let your friends know about *112.

You may want to Send this to every woman (and man) you know; it may save a life.

This applies to ALL 50 states



Analysis: Variants of this story have been circulating since 2002, when it was originally claimed that dialing #77 on a cell phone would connect the caller to police in an emergency (which actually only works in a few states). It's always unwise to rely on anonymous viral messages for safety and health information.

112 may work in some cases but is NOT a reliable U.S. emergency number

These messages claim that dialing 112 on a cell phone will connect the caller to state or local police "in all 50 states." This is NOT true. Whether you're calling from a landline or a cell phone, 911 is still the only universal emergency number throughout the U.S.

Mobile calls from within the U.S. to 112, which is the standard emergency phone number in Europe, may — I repeat, may — be automatically redirected to local emergency services depending on one's service provider and the type of device used (e.g., a cell phone using GSM technology). But don't depend on it. Dialing 911 is still your safest bet in a real emergency.

Why play Russian Roulette with your life?

A student named 'Lauren'

The existence of "Lauren," the female college student who supposedly saved her own life by dialing #77 (or 112, or #112, etc.) to notify police when an unmarked car attempted to pull her over in 2002, has never been confirmed. Officer impersonations of the type described in the story do occur, however.

See also:
Use Reverse PIN to Contact Police in ATM Emergency?
Cell Phone Numbers About to Go Public?
Things You Never Knew Your Cell Phone Could Do
Can You Pop Popcorn with Your Cell Phone?
People Die After Receiving Mysterious Phone Calls?

Sources and further reading:

Saline County Sheriff's Office: '112' Email Hoax
WSIL-TV News, 7 March 2013

Emergency Situation? Don't Dial 1-1-2!
Bandon Western World, 7 March 2013

Authorities Warn Against Dialing 112 for Emergencies
Journal Sentinel, 1 March 2013

Police Investigate Man Impersonating Officer, Carjacking
WRBL-TV News, 7 March 2011

Man Impersonated Officer, Patted Down Woman
The Telegraph, 22 February 2011

In an Emergency, Who Do You Call?
CNN, 11 March 2009

Dial #77 in Police Emergency (2002 Version)
Urban Legends, 22 April 2002

Dial *677 - Rapist Impersonates Police Officer (2004 Version)
Urban Legends, 16 August 2004

Mobile Emergency Numbers in the U.S.
911Dispatch.com


Last updated 04/08/14

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