A Facebook post which claims to be seeking help to identify a young girl who was the victim of a hit and run while riding her bicycle is fake.
The post, which appears on a community group page for Coventry says: “We Need Your Help To Identify this little girl who was riding her bike and got involved in a Hit & run few hours ago in Coventry. The Deputies are not Able to identify Her , because she has No ID with Her . The suspect is currently on the run & the girl is still unconscious in Hospital. Please bump Post so that Family can see [sic]”.
The post is accompanied by a photograph of a young girl in a hospital bed alongside another showing a still from dashcam footage of a girl on a bicycle being struck by a vehicle.
The same post has also appeared on Facebook groups from other UK locations including Berkshire, Fermanagh and Luton. The wording in these other posts is identical, other than claiming the accident occurred in each different group’s local area.
More identical posts have been shared in Facebook groups across the United States. In some cases the posts have been shared thousands of times.
Using a reverse image search traced the picture of the girl in the hospital bed back to a March 2021 car crash in Queensland, Australia.
Although the post implies that the image of a child cyclist being hit by a car shows the same girl, we traced the second photograph to an October 2014 incident at a holiday park close to Sydney, Australia. Despite the head-on collision, the girl was not injured in the accident and did not require medical treatment.
The Argyll & West Dunbartonshire division of Police Scotland has issued a warning about the post, explaining that it is part of a wider hoax operating on social media.
The warning says: “Once the original post has been shared widely, the scammer will alter the original post to a scam offering a prize or encouraging you to click on a link. By altering the original post, the scammers will reach everyone who has liked and shared and their Facebook friends as well.
“Very sneaky, but also easy to fall for as we all like to think we can help out.”
We have written before about highly emotive fake posts which use stories of abandoned babies or injured dogs in order to attract likes and shares.
Image courtesy of Kenny Eliason