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FACUA and police warn of hoax calls and messages
By thinkSPAIN Team Thu, Aug 22, 2019
CONSUMER organisations and police have warned of another round of phone scams and hoaxes, including calls with a Chile country prefix and WhatsApp messages telling users not to eat pork.
FACUA-Consumers in Action said on Twitter: “Whether or not they have spelling mistakes [usually a giveaway sign that a message is a hoax or virus] never pass on food alerts via WhatsApp unless they come with a link to a reliable source.”
It says a viral message has gone round warning users not to eat any pork products, in light of a listeria outbreak in Sevilla which has affected at least 155 people, including a baby, and claimed the life of a 90-year-old woman.
Andalucia regional health authorities have withdrawn all products from sale which come from the firm whose meat has caused the outbreak, but no other official warnings have been released.
The WhatsApp message reads: “Latest news on the listeria case. Do not eat pork products until the issue of where they come from has been clarified. It appears they come from an abattoir in Sevilla. This is being investigated. This has been communicated to us this afternoon.”
A punctuation error – a space between 'case' and the full stop – gives a clue that the message is a fake, and who the 'us' in the last line is has not been made clear.
As health authorities have pointed out, the only meat affected is by the brand 'La Mechá', owned by the firm Magrudis, and production of it was stopped in May but was still being consumed recently because it had a use-by date of three months from manufacture.
The Trade Federation for Meat Industries (FECIC) says national consumption of any kind of meat is not affected.
Meanwhile, National Police have warned phone users not to answer calls with a country prefix of 0056 – for Chile – unless they know someone who lives there, then they should check the number corresponds with that of their relative or friend, or contact them via other means to see if they have rung.
Calls are normally made between 16.00 and 23.00 mainland Spain time (15.00 and 22.00 in the Canary Islands), claiming a family member has been kidnapped and demanding a ransom.
“However realistic it sounds, don't fall for it, don't pay, and do report it,” National Police say on Twitter.
“Don't fall for this blackmail – it's what is known as a 'virtual kidnap'. Stay calm and call us on 091.”
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