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Phony phone number


  Stories and Facebook uploads have been circulating the web, spreading false and potentially dangerous information to many people. These posts have been urging women to dial numbers like 112  when being pulled over by a suspicious/unmarked cop car. They claimed that calling those numbers could connect you to personnel who could look into your specific situation.

  One story was quoted, on Snopes.com, a fact-checking site. It said, “Lauren remembered her parents’ advice, and telephoned 112 from her mobile phone… The dispatcher checked to see if there was a police car where she was, and there wasn’t, he told her to keep driving, remain calm and that he had back-up already on the way.” The man pulling her over was a cop impersonator and had some questionable intentions.

  Truth is, 112 is Europe’s emergency number and Lauren’s safety relied solely on luck.

  911 Magazine, “Managing Emergency Communications”, said, “While dialing 1-1-2 in the United States may work on certain devices and on certain wireless networks, the only way to ensure that your call for emergency assistance gets through is to dial 9-1-1.” Calling 112 can lead to complications while trying to redirect the call back to US dispatchers instead of European ones. 112 may also not be available in all places and with all cell phone carriers.

  This is frightening because HR students were misinformed by social media and by their peers. Jennah Klein, sophomore, said, “As a new driver, it reassures me that there is a way I can ease my already existing anxiety about driving by myself, especially if I am being followed by a cop.” Through false information fed to her, Klein was put in a dangerous position of thinking an unreliable number could help in situations like Lauren’s, that are fairly common.

  WSMV.com, a Nashville news organization, covered a case of impersonation in Kentucky on October 5th. Forrest Sanders, reporter, wrote, “Two drivers saw flashing lights pull up behind them and even a badge from the man behind the wheel, but they said something didn’t seem right. Hopkinsville police are on the lookout for a police impersonator, and they believe it’s possible he’s targeting women.”

  In these positions, it is simply best to call 911. Laura Ansart, Federal Probation Officer said, “I think most people would prefer to call 911, because in a moment of stress, it would be difficult to remember another number to call to verify the identity of a law enforcement officer.” Additionally, Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste told Snopes, “Just call 9-1-1, there’s no reason to use another number. 9-1-1 is always the best way to reach the police when you need our assistance.” Calling 911 is a foolproof plan of getting in contact with someone who should be able to help if you have any doubts while driving.

Taylor Means, Online Editor

Infographic about police impersonation. Graphic by Taylor Means


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Phony phone number