As students across New Mexico go back to school, the FBI Albuquerque Division would like to remind them and their parents of the consequences of posting hoax threats to schools and other public places.
Hoax threats are not a joke, and the FBI and our partners follow up on every tip we receive from the public.
Issuing a threat is a federal crime that carries a penalty of up to five years in federal prison.
Hoax threats also drain law enforcement resources and cost taxpayers money.
When an investigation concludes there was a false or hoax threat made to a school, or another public place, a federal charge could be considered. If a federal charge is not warranted, state charges are possible.
Public assistance is crucial to curb these hoax threats.
In an effort to get the word out to as many people as possible, the FBI earlier this year launched a social media campaign using the hashtag “ThinkBeforeYouPost.”
The following are some tips students and parents can use to stay out of trouble online and assist law enforcement:
- Don’t ever post or send any hoax threats online…period.
- If you are a target of an online threat, alert your local law enforcement immediately.
- If you see a threat of violence posted on social media, immediately contact local law enforcement or your local FBI office. Members of the public can always submit a tip to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov.
- Notify authorities but don’t share or forward the threat until law enforcement has had a chance to investigate—this can spread misinformation and cause panic.
- If you are a parent or family member, know that some young people post these threats online as a cry for attention or as a way to get revenge or exert control. Talk to your child about the proper outlet for their stress or other emotions, and explain the importance of responsible social media use and the consequences of posting hoax threats.
Again, contact law enforcement to report any potential threats or suspicious activity. If there is any reason to believe the safety of others is at risk, we ask that the public immediately reach out to their local police department by calling 911.
As always, members of the public can report a tip to the FBI Albuquerque Division at 505.889.1300.
Early intervention can prevent a situation from escalating by identifying, assessing, and managing the threat.
Remember, if you see something, say something. Hoax threats are not a joke, so think before you post!