Facebook Hoax Causing Panic

It started with a post circulating Facebook, warning residents in the Combes, Harlingen and Santa Rosa area, about a crime of opportunity right at their front door.

"It's a scam where a young girl (approaches homes) in the Harlingen area, and once you open the door, two men would force their way inside and attack, Harlingen Sgt. John Parrish said.

According to the post, Harlingen police notified people of the crime, but Parrish said there has yet to be a single report filed in reference to the claims, and they learned of the post online.

However, he says the post was enough to cause panic amongst area residents.

Harlingen police took to their social media pages to discredit what they are calling a hoax.

One woman responded by saying the post kept her and her teen daughter up all night.

Parrish adds because of this, the original poster could be facing charges.

"Anything that causes any type of reaction by law enforcement or a public entity, or places fears in others, which something like this could do, it's criminal," Parrish said.

Parrish said fighting online crimes can be a challenge for police departments, but with the help of technology, it's just a matter of time before they track down Internet users with ill intent.

"Once something is posted, as we all know, you can take it down, but it's already out there," Parrish said.

For some Facebook users, the hoax post was no big deal, but Parrish said when in doubt it's better to be safe than sorry.

Anytime something seems not right, it's a good idea to call and verify (with your local police department), Parrish said.

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