This morning, I received two text messages about separate cases of a car-jacking and "abduction" of a child.
Have you received them?
In both sms-es, there were mobile phone numbers given.
Here are the messages:
1`. Plz fwd this msg:1 car NISSAN SENTRA white colour WPL 6644,10.20am at tmn maluri, D'Alamanda Condo. kidnap a 8yrs old girl name shirley, anyone see this car plz report to the police.from: shirley's mother+60122892866
2. Pls help 2 blast out this sms asap. A car was stolen by an Indian in Taman Berkeley, Klang early morning on 16 feb. A small boy aged 6 yrs old was inside the car. If u c a meroon Proton Wira JFA 4552, pls call Mr Foo at 0196555174/0122838371 or the nearest police station. It is the kid who must be in fear now, that matters. Your immediate sms blast is very much appreciated.
What did you do when you got those messages? Did as you were told? Forwarded the messages to as many people?
Our reaction would be to do just that.
Hold on for a while. There were phone numbers given, weren't there?
So before we start forwarding the messages, we should perhaps check their validity/authenticity. Just in case, you know.
I was about to do just that when my colleague told me that the first one was a hoax. He tried to call Shirley's mother but could not get through, so he texted her. She responded and told him not to spread the sms because it's a hoax.
I suppose it means that she was not the one who sent out the sms. I've sent her a text message asking whether she knew who the sender was.
I quickly tried calling Mr Foo to check out the authenticity of the sms but could not get through. The Taman Berkeley story about the missing car and child is not a hoax because it was in the papers.
Still, I wanted to find out from Mr Foo whether he knew anything about the sms. Just as I was doing that, I received an NST alert to say that the car and child had been found. Well, thank Allah for that.
Malaysians are very caring. It is good that we are ready to help in these cases, especially when children are involved.
If those messages were genuine, then they would go a long way to helping find the stolen cars and abducted children.
If they were not, then, really, Shirley's mother or an innocent person driving the car in question, could get seriously hurt if and when the vehicle was spotted by "well-meaning" people.
I suppose the next time we get this kind of sms and if there is (usually there is) a phone number given, we should try calling (or smsing) that number to verify before blasting it to your friends. Doesn't hurt to do that.