Missing children scams are circulating on social media

Missing children scams are now circulating on social media.
Missing children scams are now circulating on social media.(Gray TV stations)
Published: Mar. 5, 2023 at 9:45 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - When a child goes missing often parents will turn to a Facebook community group seeking additional help in locating the child. However, what happens if this report is false?

Scammers will now use a post as a child missing to their advantage.

How the scam works, the scammer will make a post that their so-called child is missing. Once this gets enough shares and views the scammer will change the post into something else.

According to Full Fact, this post is now changed into an advertisement, or another website that will get the scammer money.

“The issue with people sharing through social media is it is a fast way to get the information out, but you don’t really have a guarantee that, that information is accurate. Or what we see sometimes is people choose to share actual information, but it lives on much longer on social media than the actual incident. And so maybe that case has been solved a long time ago, and yet it’s still out there,” said Bonnie Feller Hagen, Missing Person Clearing House manager, state Amber Alert coordinator.

One post has been circulating around Facebook stating, “HELP!!! My son Brandon Smith took off this morning with our dog hank. He is autistic and has been missing for eight hours if anyone sees him please PM me please re-post on any sites. I already contacted police.”

However, this post is fake and has shown up in multiple areas around the United States.

The real story behind this photo according to Full Fact is the post on this missing child is false. The photo is from a Facebook post in 2016 of a boy who has autism who had just met his dog after waiting two years for a service dog.

For more information on where you can tell if a kid is missing or not and a way to avoid these scams you can click here.