Wal-Mart hoax spreading via SMS text messages

Graham Cluley

Up and down America, mobile phone users are forwarding SMS messages to each other warning that women and children will be killed at a Wal-Mart store.

The cellphone messages claim that the killings will be part of a planned ‘gang initiation’ rite.

The only problem with these warnings is that they have no basis in fact, and members of the general public are forwarding it without applying some common sense first.

In fact, the only people likely to make a killing are Wal-Mart’s competitors, as customers boycott the discount department store in fear of their lives.

Typical SMS messages that have been seen forwarded via text message include the following examples:

FWD: Police are asking all women not to go to any Walmart tonight there is a gang initiation and three women will be shot this is not a joke pls foward

Fwd: Do not go to any walmart tonight. Gang initiation to shoot 3 women tonight. Not sure which walmart. And confirmd on…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.