Message purporting to be an Amber Alert claims that a three-year-old boy was taken by a man in Rochester MI driving a 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse with the number plate 98B351.
The claims in the message are false. The message is not a valid Amber Alert and there is no abduction case like the one described. The message is a long-running hoax and should not be forwarded or reposted.
This message, which circulates via Facebook, Twitter and other social networks as well as via email, claims that a three-year-old boy was taken by a man in Rochester, Michigan who was driving a 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse with the number plate 98B351. The message, which purports to be an Amber Alert, urges recipients to repost the information in the hope that someone has seen the vehicle and can help the little boy.
However, the claims in the message are untrue. The message does not describe a genuine abduction case and no such Amber Alert is in effect. The message should NOT be reposted or forwarded.
Variants of the same false alert have been circulating in various formats since at least 2009. The original version of the hoax message is very similar to the above examples except that it omits the Rochester reference. Another early version is virtually identical except that it claims that the boy was taken by a Mitsubishi Eclipse driver in Oregon. Others relocate the Mitsubishi Eclipse driver to Stamford, Delaware, and elsewhere in the United States. Some versions even move the location outside of the United States, including places in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Yet another widely circulated variant claims that the boy was taken in Stockton by a man driving a 96 BMW with the number plate, 98B351NM.
The “Rochester” version shown in the above examples appears to be the most commonly circulated version of the hoax at the time of writing. All versions are equally false. There is not, nor has there ever been a valid Amber Alert like the ones described in these hoax messages.
Sadly, some instances of the hoax message have become dangerously mingled with information and photographs about real missing children. In early 2010, the following version began circulating:
AMBER ALERT******** STOP PLAYING FOR A MINUTE-COPY AND REPOST! 3 YR (RYLEE ALEXANN FOLAN) WAS TAKEN BY MAN IN ROSEVILLE, MI DRIVING 2006 MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE. PLATE #98B351 REPOST NOW! SERIOUSLY!!!!!!! I hope to see this repeated on this page many times
While 10-month-old Rylee was indeed the subject of an Amber Alert, the circumstances of her kidnapping had no relation whatsoever to the fake Amber Alert show in the above example. Rylee was taken by her biological mother and was found unharmed soon after the Amber Alert was issued. Another version included a photograph of Jewel Strong, a three-year-old who went missing presumed drowned after a swimming accident in May 2006. Again, the Jewel Strong case had no connection to the “Amber Alert” described in the hoax message.
Fake Amber Alert messages are not uncommon. Before forwarding any Amber Alert message, recipients should always check that they are legitimate and current by visiting the official Amber Alert Program page on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children website. Forwarding or reposting hoax Amber Alerts or other fake missing child messages is far from harmless. Sending on such misinformation will certainly not help any missing children and may significantly lessen the impact of genuine missing child alerts. Missing child hoaxes also waste the time and resources of police authorities and other organizations such as the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children who must continually answer questions about the hoaxes from concerned members of the public.
If you receive one of these Amber Alert hoaxes, please do not repost or forward it. And please take a moment to let the sender know that the message is a hoax.