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Bogus Warning – Don’t Flash Headlights Gang Initiation

by Brett M. Christensen

Message purporting to be from security company Chubb warns drivers not to flash their headlights at any cars driving with no lights on. The message claims that, as part of a gang initiation, gang members will chase any car that flashes them and shoot and kill all of the cars occupants.

Brief Analysis:
The claims in the message are false. No such crimes are taking place. The warning is just a new version of a very old urban legend that has been circulating since at least 1993. The message did not originate with Chubb as claimed. If you receive this message do not pass it on to others. And let the sender know that the warning is invalid.

Chubb Flash Lights Hoax Warning

Detailed Analysis:
This supposed warning message is circulating rapidly via social media and email. The message circulates as a screen-shot of a letter purporting to be from security company Chubb. The message warns motorists not to flash their headlights at cars driving with no lights on. According to the message, driving without lights is part of a Bloods gang member initiation. Supposedly, new gang members are required to drive around with no headlights on until another vehicle flashes them and then follow the vehicle and shoot and kill all its occupants. The warning adds that new Bloods members across the nation will be driving around on Friday and Saturday nights as part of this “initiation game”.

Thankfully, however, the warning has no factual basis whatsoever. There have been no reports of crimes like the one described in the warning and no such gang initiation ritual is taking place. There are no credible news or media reports about such activity other than those dismissing it as a hoax. In fact, this warning is just the latest in a very long line of fake warnings that have circulated for more than twenty years. It began circulating via email and fax back in 1993 and may have originated from even earlier stories involving motorcycle gangs. It was also given a boost by the 1998 film “Urban Legend” which featured the initiation ritual described.

In 2004, another version of the hoax targeted Londoners. Then, in 2005, the story again emerged, this time masquerading as a warning from Canada’s RCMP. There have also been Australian, New Zealand and South African versions of he hoax.

Chubb South Africa has published a statement on its website noting that the message did not originate with them and that they do not endorse or support the claims in the message.

As the following 1998 example reveals, the bogus warning has changed little over the years:

A police officer working with the DARE program has issued this warning: If you are driving after dark and see an on-coming car with no headlights on, DO NOT FLASH YOUR LIGHTS AT THEM! This is a common gang member initiation game that goes like this:

The new gang member under initiation drives along with no headlights, and the first car to flash their headlights at him is now his “target”. He is now required to turn around and chase that car, and shoot at or into the car in order to complete his initiation requirements. Make sure you share this information with all the drivers in your family!

The story has been repeatedly dismissed as a hoax by police, emergency services, and news reports all around the world. Reposting this false warning will achieve nothing other than to cause needless fear and alarm in communities and waste the time of law enforcement staff who must field ongoing queries about the myth. If you receive this message, please do not repost it. And please take the time to let the original poster know that the claims in the message are false.

Last updated: February 2, 2017
First published: June 13, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

Don’t Flash your Lights? Gang Initiation Myth Hits London
RCMP Warning Hoax – No Headlights Gang Initiation Myth
New Zealand Police – Gang initiation email a hoax
RCMP E-Mail Hoax
London Ambulance Service – Hoax Email
An Urban Myth Sees the Light Again
Safe to Blink the Car Headlights?

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

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Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,