On Your Side: Missing child alert scam

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 5:37 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - This will get your attention while you scroll. Now there are missing child alert schemes.

It was shared in an Aurora and Marionville area yard sale group. It says: Found this girl wandering behind our apartment. I can’t find her parents. Please help.

“The phishing attacks by their very nature are hoping to get a hold of someone wanting to help,” said Wes Coatney, Police Chief of Aurora-Marionville Police Department. “And then turn that person into a victim.”

Chief Coatney says if you see a missing child alert in your newsfeed, just pause for a second and evaluate the post. Take a good look at the photo. In one post, the responder’s shirt says Plano.

These are phishing attempts. Scammers want to steal your info.

“Eventually, what they’re going to ask for is your banking information so you can get them gas to get the child home. Or some kind of sales pitch to feed the child or get the child some food until they can get back to their parents,” said Coatney.

If there’s an actual missing child, you’ll get an Amber Alert on your phone or police will send out a notification. A post from an individual account does not add up. Always consider the source.

“While folks maybe mean well, they need to understand that posting that to a garage sale site, is not what a reasonable person with an actual missing child would do,” said Coatney.

Do not message the scammer. Do not engage. Do not click on any links from them.

The creators of these posts are often from accounts with no history, maybe just one or two photos.

If you spot a missing child scam post, report it to administrators of the group and Facebook.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com

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