Officials with the Houston County Sheriff’s Office in southeast Alabama are warning hunters about a scam letter that recently popped up on Facebook. The counterfeit letter, which claimed to be from the governor’s office, stated that cellular trail cams would be banned throughout the state beginning this deer season. It explained that the Alabama legislature made the decision out of a growing concern for public safety, and it listed the penalties for the first, second, and third violations of the new rule. The letter even included a fake signature from Gov. Kay Ivey.
“This letter is FALSE and has no truth to it,” HCSO officials wrote in a Facebook post earlier this week.
The prankster went to a lot of trouble to create what might look like an official letter to a casual reader, but there are several red flags—including the scammer’s poor grammar. The very first sentence contains a basic spelling error. (The second word in this sentence should be “effect,” not “affect.”) Apart from poor grammar throughout, the language in the letter is often difficult to follow and nonsensical, although that alone doesn’t rule it out as a government document.
We could go on, but this would be an even bigger waste of time than mocking up a fancy letter only to riddle it with elementary errors. Fortunately, the folks at the local sheriff’s office noticed these mistakes on their own, although it’s unclear where the letter, dated May 8, was originally posted.
Fake News Abounds on Social Media
The Alabama scam letter is a reminder that misinformation runs rampant on social media. It’s also not the first “fake news” post that has targeted deer hunters in the South as of late. Last month, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources had to debunk a Facebook post that claimed the agency was offering hunters cash rewards for killing collared deer.
“Be cautious of what you see on social media,” the agency warned.
And in April, a satirical Facebook page named “Arkansas Game Fish” posted a fake arrest report about a 43-year-old woman who was giving whitetails meth and training them to attack hunters.
“At the time of the arrest Watkins was in possession of several grams of meth, four deer and many stolen broken electronics,” the satirical post reads. “Attention was drawn to Watkins when she began giving meth to the young deer and they were caught rummaging through people’s garages and back porches.”
Outlandish? No doubt. But at least the grammar is sound. Well, mostly.