Facebook kidnapping hoaxes popping up across the Valley

It TMs become a familiar scenario reported on Facebook.

A Rio Grande Valley family is shopping with their children at a popular store when approached by a man.

Their child or children are taken at gunpoint and never seen again.

It sounds scary, but it never happened. It TMs all a hoax.

False reports about kidnappings are becoming commonplace on Facebook and social media.

Many of them reportedly taking place at popular malls, shopping centers and supermarkets in Brownsville, McAllen and San Juan.

In other posts, children are kidnapped in Nuevo Progreso and Matamoros and later found dead with missing body organs.

Dozens of concerned Action 4 News viewers have written over the past few weeks to ask if what they read on Facebook is true or not.

Police in Brownsville, McAllen and San Juan told Action 4 News there are no reports that match the events described on Facebook.

Mexican police have also told the local Univision affiliate that they do not have matching reports for crimes described on-line.

Earlier this week, Harlingen police took a stand on Facebook about a social media hoax in their area.

Reports of a child being used a decoy in local home invasions.

It TMs not clear who TMs starting these false Facebook rumors or why, but Harlingen police said they could possibly face criminal 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," Sgt. John Parrish told Action 4 News just earlier this week.