Fake post about a missing child is spreading on Facebook

1 July 2022
What was claimed

An 8-year-old girl was kidnapped from Porthmadog, Wales.

Our verdict

This is a hoax linking to a potentially unsafe website. The post shows an image of a girl who went missing in the USA in 2019.

A fake news story being shared on Facebook claims that an 8-year-old girl has been kidnapped while walking with her mother in Wales.

This post is not true, and it contains a link to what appears to be an unsafe website, which is why we have not included the link in this article. Attempting to access the site prompts a warning from Google that it has been “identified as a forgery, intended to trick you into disclosing financial, personal or other sensitive information”.

The link attached to the post shows an image of a girl wearing a pink top, with the article claiming that she was kidnapped from Porthmadog in Wales and hasn’t been seen for nearly 24 hours.

This image is actually of another girl, named Serenity Dennard, who went missing in South Dakota, USA, in February 2019.

Serenity’s case has received substantial news coverage over the years, with several articles featuring the same image that is used in the hoax Facebook post.

We’ve written about similar hoaxes about missing children spreading on Facebook in the past, some of which have been used to collect personal details from victims who click on the links, in what’s called a phishing scam.

There are some clues that the reports of a missing girl in Porthmadog being shared are not real. For example, rather than linking to a trustworthy news source, the url takes the user to a website called ‘helpeachothernow591’.

Full Fact cannot find any reliable reports of a missing girl from Porthmadog matching the description in the link shared on Facebook.

For trustworthy information on missing persons cases you can refer to organisations like Missing People, and Child Rescue Alert, as well as local police forces and news websites.

Image courtesy of Skinsmoke under CC-BY-SA-3.0

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