Fake social media appeals for a missing boy called James Peltier

10 February 2023
What was claimed

A photograph shows a boy called James Peltier who has recently gone missing.

Our verdict

This photograph shows a girl called Maggie. These missing person appeals are fake.

A fake appeal for a missing boy is being shared on many local Facebook groups.

The words in the posts are almost identical, with one example from Cheshire saying: “HELP!!! # Northwich My son James R. Peltier took off this morning with our dog Cooper. He autistic and has been missing for 9 hours if anyone sees him please PM me please re-post on any sites.I already contacted police [sic].”

Similar posts have been shared in neighbourhood groups in Clipstone (Nottinghamshire), Wakefield, Woodley and Reading, Malton (Yorkshire), Edinburgh, Stockport and Middlesbrough, as well as in the US, Canada and Australia. Each post claims the disappearance happened in a different place.

The posts include a picture of a child who is actually a girl called Maggie. We’ve written before about her photo being used on similar posts with different names.

A Google search of the name “James R. Peltier” does not bring up any stories of missing children in the UK or elsewhere.

All of these posts have their comments disabled, which is often a sign that they are not real missing person appeals, as it may be a way to prevent Facebook users from saying that the post is not genuine.

We’ve previously fact checked a range of fake Facebook posts appealing for help with missing parents, lost dogs and even abandoned babies. We’ve seen several examples of these posts being subsequently edited to advertise surveys or housing websites.

Image courtesy of Luke Pennystan

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