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Home Bogus Warnings Viral Facebook Message Falsely Claims that a Pictured Man is Posing as an RSPCA Officer and Stealing Dogs

Viral Facebook Message Falsely Claims that a Pictured Man is Posing as an RSPCA Officer and Stealing Dogs

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Message circulating rapidly on Facebook claims that a man depicted in an attached photograph is posing as an RSPCA officer and has attempted to steal dogs in the South Yorkshire area of the UK.

Brief Analysis

The claims in the message are false. The RSPCA has officially confirmed that the man in the picture is a legitimate RSPCA fundraiser and that the allegations that he tried to steal dogs are completely unfounded. This message is unfairly damaging the reputation of an innocent person. Reposting such false allegations is irresponsible and immoral.

Example

Dog owners beware, this guy has been seen in South Yorkshire over the weekend posing as an RSPCA officer. One person caught him attempting to steal dogs. He’s not from the RSPCA so if you see him call the rozzers! Also, get a big scary guard dog or two. Stops them every time!

RSPC Officer Hoax

 

Detailed Analysis

This viral message, which features a photograph of a man wearing an RSPCA vest, claims that the man has been posing as an RSPCA officer and has attempted to steal dogs in the South Yorkshire area of the UK. The message warns that the man is not from the RSPCA and asks people to call the ‘rozzers’ (UK slang for ‘police’) if they see him.

However, the claims in the message are untrue. The man in the picture is from the RSPCA and he has not attempted to steal dogs in South Yorkshire or anywhere else.

A spokesperson for the RSPCA in England & Wales has contacted me with the following official RSPCA statement on the issue:

The RSPCA would like to reassure people that the person pictured here is a legitimate fundraiser and any allegations saying he stole a dog are completely unfounded.

It is unclear who started this nasty and damaging rumour, but this man’s image and the false accusations about him have already been shared many thousands of times.

This sort of nasty hoax can cause significant and lasting damage to the reputations of innocent people. It can also waste the resources of organizations such as the RSPCA and the police who must deal with ongoing enquiries about the hoaxes from concerned members of the public.

It is very important that social media users check the veracity of posts that accuse people of wrongdoing BEFORE they share them with others. This is especially true if the posts include a photograph of the person being accused or other information that could identify the person.

Please do not blindly repost such material without verifying it first. Reposting such false accusations is irresponsible and immoral. It could also have legal ramifications for those posting and sharing the material. If this false warning comes your way, do not pass it on to others. And please take a moment to let the sender know that the claims in the message are untrue.

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.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer