The text messages warn of a civil defense emergency and advise recipients to “take shelter,” said police Captain Darren McConnell.
The warnings were not sent via the C3 Alert system used by Red Bank and nearby towns. McConnell says the borough PD has received calls from recipients concerned about the texts.
“It looks like it was from a larger system than ours,” McConnell tells redbankgreen. “But we just wanted to get the word out.”
Little Silver police Chief Dan Shaffery says the texts warn: “Civil alert. Take shelter before 1:24 pm.”
In chatter on emergency radio channels this morning, authorities have speculated that the fake alerts may have been sent only to customers of Verizon Wireless. McConnell, though, said he uses a Verizon device and did not receive one.
Here’s the Red Bank police response:
Shortly after noon today many people received text message alerts advising of a civil defense emergency. Be advised that this was a hoax and there is no emergency at this time. Initially it appears that a database was hacked and that some cell phone subscribers received this phony alert.
The alert was not sent through this system and the Borough of Red Bank’s alerting system was not hacked. It appears that a nationwide system was hacked through a particular cell phone provider.
Again, there is no civil emergency at this time and no action is required of the public. RBPD.