Police warn against sharing fake child abduction posts on social media

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Police are sending a warning about fake posts circulation on social media and creating panic. The latest one happened in Bloomington.

Police said a post was being shared numerous times stating both Bloomington police and mall security were chasing a child abduction suspect at a local mall.

The post was so concerning to many, so they contacted the Bloomington Police Department to find out more information. Bloomington police Lt. John Kovach said the incident didn't sound familiar, so the departments crime analyst searched records dating back months. Nothing was found with anything resembling a call of this nature.

"We train our officers on how to deal with human trafficking and things of that nature, so when we deal with calls of either an attempted abduction or battery or something like that, we look for those signs," Lt. Kovach explained.

After doing some research, Bloomington police found a similar post in another state. They believe the post was shared many times and each time the information was skewed and altered. Police believe someone eventually changed the details to match locations in Bloomington.

"People get concerned because it’s a public store and they go there and do their shopping and everything. They re-post it because they want to keep their family and friends aware of any potential dangers out there," said Lt. Kovach. "As it gets shared, it gets changed and people maybe try to embellish a little bit."

While police understand the urgency in wanting to share something they consider an emergency or public safety issue, they're encouraging people to to check the validity of a report, before sharing it on social media.

"We’ll investigate anything that’s like this; that’s what were here for, but if it’s kind of a fake story, it can use up valuable manpower if it’s something we shouldn’t be looking at," said Lt. Kovach.

Police can't tie any of these posts to other reports in central Indiana. They do want to encourage people to call police if they witness an attempted abduction or human trafficking instead of taking to social media.