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Hoax Alert

Fake News: NO Alert To All Law Enforcement To Check Tops Of Water Bottles, NO Poison Injections or Deaths Reported in Richmond Area

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Wed, 10 Jul 2019 11:51:21 Z)

Was an alert sent out to "all law enforcement and government officials" to check the tops of purchased water bottles for poison injection marks and have people "in the Richmond area" died from it? No, that's not true: a hoax from last year is still circulating today under the form of a viral internet image but it still isn't true.

An example of the image can be found in this Facebook post (archived here) where it was published today. The text on the image read:

They sent a alert out to all law enforcement and government officials to check the tops of every purchased water bottle because someone is going around injecting poison into the tops of the water to where you dnt recognize that it's been tampered with.. you have to turn the bottle upside down and squeeze before opening it. If it leaks throw it away . A few people have already died in the Richmond area.. the sheriff just made the announcement Please pass word arou(nd)

Screenshot of https://scontent.fbru1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/66215008_148823602931375_7533820756891795456_n.jpg?_nc_cat=110&_nc_eui2=AeHKi_sm05qSVojJHLodNvrv3y6OplqA3Pxu7eXw6VqPzyE0hg-Wtp3GyKSCdPWATWQ6Wd26S_nxcoBXF4z0rpxMWxzWHFmdHUfCWtbZCIvYJg&_nc_oc=AQnJ1nbR9QJS_IhbkhulN1fz8C6G1f4dOGBMIpccFEwp7xzPFAGVp1BwrV0lK9oPm0THeJihq0qcm4lQMFDEe_KP&_nc_ht=scontent.fbru1-1.fna&oh=66f80f7d356b17486c00fff0323683ae&oe=5DB7A893

Here is an example of the image:


We found no reports of poisonings through water bottles in Richmond and we checked the websites of several Richmond sherrifs (note there are several cities, towns and counties by that name) but we found no trace of any of these reports.

It appears the story has been circulating on social media since at least March 2018 and since then several fact checking sites have looked into the matter and found no evidence it was real:

FACT CHECK: Have Officials Warned That Someone Is Injecting Poison into Plastic Water Bottles?

In March 2018, we began receiving inquiries from readers about an alert spreading on social media saying that several people had died after drinking bottled water purposely injected with poison. The minute amount of information provided was vague and unsourced.

Fact Check - Have Police Issued Warnings About Poison Being Injected into Bottled Water? - Hoax-Slayer

According to a message that is currently circulating via social media, law enforcement and government officials are warning consumers to check the tops of bottled water for possible tampering. The warning claims that someone is going around injecting poison into the tops of water bottles and that a "few people have already died in the Richmond area".

No, someone isn't injecting poison into water bottle caps

A text screenshot-turned meme is going around the internet claiming that law enforcement is warning the public about someone injecting poison into the caps of water bottles. The post, shared on Facebook, appears to show a screenshot of a text message with

If you see warnings circulating on social media claiming the police or authorities have warned the public about someone tampering with food or drinks, always check first where the warnings actually came from and when they were issued before you share them with your friends and family. A quick trip to Google or a look in the comments section can sometimes be all it takes to find out the truth.

About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

About Lead Stories

Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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