When a child is in danger, we all want to help. I get it. It’s part of the human condition. But when you see a Missing Child alert on Facebook, I need to warn you that you should pause and remain dubious. Do Not Share or spread that Post (yet)!

Missing Child posts may not be what they seem. And it is very difficult to know the truthful ones from the frauds. With some alerts, a child may truly be missing and in danger. In other cases, the minor may be fleeing from danger. They could be in hiding for their own protection, or sought after by a person who does not have legal custody. Or it could be a ruse or fictional post.

If you cannot determine the truth of such an alert, it’s best to not share, and just move on. Only pass on the information if it came from a confirmed police source or a reputable news outlet. If the alert is asking you to contact a police department with relevant info, that goes a long way to legitimizing the report.