Fake police press release circulates in an Ontario town

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Published March 12, 2024 at 12:57 pm

fake police release ontario

A fake police press release was found circulating in an Ontario town.

The fake release was discovered in the Port Robinson and Thorold area, Niagara Regional Police said in a social media post yesterday (March 11).

The release had an official-looking Niagara police crest at the top and the heading read: “Press Release: Suspected Criminal Activity in Port Robinson.”

It was dated March 10, 2024 but the rest of the document is difficult to make out.

The release said police are “investigating criminal behaviour in a Thorold (Port Robinson east) neighbourhood,” Niagara Regional Police Const. Philip Gavin told insauga.com in an email.

Gavin said police don’t know where the release came from as it was sent to them as a screen capture. The resident who shared it with police also had the screenshot sent to them.

“We haven’t been able to locate the source,” Gavin said.

The person who sent it to police checked the Niagara police website for the release but could not find it and that’s when they contacted the police’s media relations department.

While the police do see false information spread on social media, it is rare to see an attempt to impersonate the police.

“We see false (disinformation) claims about criminal activity on a pretty regular basis,” Gavin said. “These usually come from a private or personal social media account about incidents that just plainly did not occur.  Sometimes people take partial truths and make assumptions or embellishments.”

Gavin said they don’t know why this fake release was spread.

But they are warning the public to check the Niagara Regional Police website for credible information.

“This incident underlines the importance of the public checking information with official sources,” Gavin added.

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