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4 December 2007

RCMP Warning Hoax - Don't flash your lights?

I got a panicky e-mail from a friend the other day it said in part:

Please pass this on! Important police warning. Very scary, now moving east....started in Manitoba, now in Saskatchewan, and moving west.... If you are driving after dark and you see a car without its head-lights on, do not flash your lights, do not blow your horn or make any signals to the driver of the other car.

So of course, my BS detector kicked in so I googled the name in the e-mail that was supposed to be from the RCMP and of course - it's a hoax - here's the full story

http://www.snopes.com/horrors/madmen/lightsout.asp

and specific to this particular e-mail

http://www.canoe.ca/mb2/messages/cnewsf/11377.html

The RCMP does not generally circulate e-mail alerts on the Internet to the public - if you check their home page at http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca
they offer all of their current bulletins and statements in their news area at http://www.rcmp.ca/news/news_e.htm and there's nothing there about it.

There are a few things that tip you off to the fact this is phony. For example, the contact for the report is from the "compensation advisor"? Members of the RCMP have ranks - not titles, and they identify their location via depots. Regina for example, is Depot F and not NWRSask.

The RCMP themselves have issued a statement on the e-mail back in 2005 at http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/sk/email-hoax_e.htm

I quote:

.... e-mail hoax has been circulating in Canada with an RCMP signature. One of our Saskatchewan employees sent this e-mail on to others in good faith without realizing it was untrue. The information contained in the e-mail is FALSE and the RCMP regrets any unnecessary alarm this may have caused the public.


It's an old hoax that actually got started back when fax machines were first in businesses - folks started faxing the story to each other. If it sounds strange - check it out at snopes.com first - it's amazing what you can find - or just Google around like I did and you'll find a lot of stories of newspapers that were sucked in by this hoax a while back.
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