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Hoax Amber Alert Text Messages and Email Showing up in Oregon
10/05/2009
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Oregon State Police (OSP) is currently receiving inquiries about the validity of an Amber Alert reported to involve a 3-year old boy taken by a male in a 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse with Oregon license 98B351. The inquiries came from the Portland-area following an email received by a television news department, and from the Douglas County area after some people received a phone text message.
 
There are no active Amber Alerts in Oregon at this time. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was also checked and it was confirmed this is not an active Amber Alert. The messages appear to be a hoax. A check with current news reports indicates similar hoax messages in California. The Oregon license plate number listed does not exist.
 

Oregon State Police Lieutenant Molly Cotter, Oregon Amber Alert Coordinator, is very concerned about these message alerts and warns the public to only respond to AMBER Alerts from authorized sources.
 

"As with the past hoax messages, please remember that receiving AMBER Alerts from an official source provides initial notification, updates, and a cancellation. AMBER Alerts from unknown sources could lead to a delayed response from the public and jeopardizes the integrity of the entire AMBER Alert plan. Forwarding text messages can circulate indefinitely without a cancellation, so don't forward this message if you receive something similar without knowing it is a confirmed AMBER Alert" said Cotter.
 

Lieutenant Cotter stressed that if one receives a text message or email about an AMBER Alert and wants to confirm it the first thing they should do is watch their local television station or check online at www.oregonamberalert.com.  If in a vehicle, Cotter said to look for highway signs and listen to the radio.
 
Oregon's AMBER Alert Plan sends alerts out through radio and television, highway advisory signs, email and to wireless subscribers who opt to receive the text messages on their wireless devices. More information about wireless AMBER Alerts, how it works and what text messages look like, and how to sign up free to receive AMBER Alerts by text is available at www.wirelessamberalerts.org.
 
This recent text message is another example of other misguided and even fake AMBER Alerts reported around the country. Many of these so-called AMBER Alerts that circulate by text message and e-mail involve cases that have already been resolved or were outright hoaxes.

 
The Amber Alert Plan is a critical missing child response program that utilizes resources of law enforcement and media to notify the public when children are kidnapped. Speedy distribution of information is key when trying to locate abducted children, but false information can impact the program's effectiveness and the public's confidence. Maintaining a solid reputation by guarding against the spread of misinformation is vital to our continued success.
 

More information about Oregon's AMBER Alert Program is available on the OSP website.