Emergency Message a "Test," Verizon Says (Updated: 3:27 p.m.)
A text alert warning residents of an immediate civil defense emergency was a hoax.
Updated 3:27 p.m. An emergency text message delivered to some residents of Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean Counties telling them to seek shelter from an impending civil defense emergency was a test, according to Verizon. From Verizon's official statement:
"This test message was not clearly identified as a test. We apologize for any inconvenience or concern this message may have caused."
A text alert apparently sent to many mobile devices warning of an impending civil defense emergency has been deemed a hoax, Red Bank Police said Monday afternoon.
Capt. Darren McConnell said the department was notified by New Jersey State Police that a text message informing residents to take immediate shelter until the relatively random time of 1:24 p.m. went out to some mobile subscribers at around noon.
Red Bank Police issued a text alert of their own dispelling the phony text, which had prompted several calls to the station, McConnell said. It’s unclear how the message was sent, though McConnell said State Police believe that a national alert system was hacked.
McConnell said most of the emergency reports came from those with Verizon service, though not all Verizon devices were impacted. McConnell said Red Bank sent out its own alert to alleviate any concerns.
“Some people, not through our alerting system, including some of our police and residents, got a message warning of a civil defense emergency and were told to take shelter right away,” he said. “There’s no emergency at all.”
To stay up to date with all of Red Bank’s emergency alerts, sign up for the service at the borough website by clicking here.