Advertisement

Burnaby RCMP say rumours of ‘sex trafficking ploy’ on social media are a hoax

Burnaby RCMP say a widely shared rumour about a 'sex trafficking ploy' appears to be a hoax.
Burnaby RCMP say a widely shared rumour about a 'sex trafficking ploy' appears to be a hoax. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lee Brown

Rumours circulating on social media of an alleged ‘sex trafficking ploy’ in Burnaby are false, says the city’s RCMP detachment.

Burnaby RCMP said it’s aware of the posts, but to date hasn’t been able to locate a report or an investigation related to the claim.

The post, variations of which are being widely shared on social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram, claims a woman was shopping at ‘Northgate Mall’ in Burnaby when she found a $100 bill taped to her car with a red ribbon, and a man watching from a nearby van.

READ MORE: ‘New’ Instagram photo hoax fools celebrities into spreading it widely

The woman allegedly called police, who told her it’s a method being used by sex traffickers to kidnap women and children. The post mentions items left on victims’ cars could be laced with drugs to sedate them.

Story continues below advertisement

But Burnaby RCMP says the post appears to be a hoax that’s in the past also been circulated in the United States.

An example of a post shared on social media claiming a ‘sex trafficking ploy’ was used at a Burnaby mall.
An example of a post shared on social media claiming a ‘sex trafficking ploy’ was used at a Burnaby mall. Facebook

“We would ask that if this has occurred to anyone in Burnaby that people contact us immediately but as of right now this appears to be a post that has unfortunately been shared on social media and caused unnecessary concern to Burnaby residents,” RCMP said in an emailed statement to Global News.

“We caution people to think twice, do some research and if they are concerned about whether this occurred or not to contact police before sharing these posts.”

RCMP said if police had received reports of that nature, they would have immediately launched an investigation and issued a warning to the public.

READ MORE: Facebook users falling for another copyright protection hoax

Story continues below advertisement

Fact-checking website Snopes has an article dating back to 2004 that debunks a similar rumour, where alleged victims were carjacked.

Another website called Hoax-slayer debunks a story almost identical to the one being shared in the Lower Mainland.

Burnaby doesn’t have a ‘Northgate Mall,’ but it does have a strip-mall near Lougheed Town Centre called Northgate Village.