Feeds

Text-message hoax threatens death by Wal-Mart

Nationwide gang killings unlikely

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Text messages are appearing all over the US that warn women to stay away from Wal-Mart stores or risk being murdered.

Fear not. This swarm of quasi-lethal smarm is a hoax, patterned after similar floods of cyber-crap that started back in 2005, according to überdebunker Snopes.com.

On example of this fear-mongering was reported by WPBF-TV of Palm Beach, Florida: "Police are asking all women not to go to any Wal-Mart tonight. There is a gang initiation and three women will be shot. This is not a joke. Please forward."

Comments to a hoax-alert post on NowPublic that describe similar text messages come from Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, Nevada, Hawaii, Nebraska, Alaska, Illinois, Colorado, Virginia, Oregon, California, Washington, and Georgia.

A report by AdvertisingAge adds Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, and Indiana to that unfortunate list.

Either this is all a hoax or we're dealing with a gang that's far better organized, funded, well-entrenched, and widespread than Al-Qaeda.

Sharp-eyed Reg readers might have noticed that an article we mentioned above is from the ad-market watcher AdvertisingAge - hardly the rag one would normally consult for the latest news in infantile cyber-stupidity.

Why should AdvertisingAge care?

Simple. Wal-Mart is planning a 2,400-store midnight promotion this Saturday to flog the DVD release of "Twilight," the puzzlingly popular teen-loves-vampire movie that fluttered many a juvenile heart late last year.

Any hoax - however hoary - that might put a dent in the US's largest retailer's marketing efforts would surely cause a shudder in the advertising community.

A Wal-Mart spokesperson put on a stern but confident face, saying "While we take these types of situations seriously, we regard [the text message] as being only a rumor, much like similar rumors that have circulated via e-mail in previous years."

Although the text messages are simultaneously puerile and distasteful, we're more concerned about the naivete of their recipients. We agree wholeheartedly with one of the NowPublic posters, who wrote: "You people should be more worried about your email address or cell number getting into the wrong hands when you accept and send out forwards than worried about a 'gang' initiation at a Wal-Mart."

Oh, and did we mention that the uncle of a friend of a co-worker heard about some guy who woke up in an ice-filled hotel bathroom only to discover that his kidneys had been stolen by organ thieves?

Now that's chilling. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Thirteen Astonishing True Facts You Never Knew About SCREWS
Threaderick the Great! And YES, we asked the Arapaho
Russia sends SEX-CRAZED GECKOS to SPAAAAACE!
In space... no one can hear you're green...
Indian techies-in-training face down MAN-EATING LEOPARD - and WIN
Big cat causes big trouble at Mumbai college
Too rich for an iPhone 6? How about a gold-plated Brikk?
Not lobbed at your head, silly – a bling phone
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.