You know those dumb stick figures in the back windows of minivans, right? The ones that represent the driver’s family. Sometimes there are even dogs and cats in them, too. Some people have no filter when it comes to dumb trends. But did you know that there is a false rumor, and it is false, that child traffickers mark potential victims with those stick figures in minivan back windows?
This is a false rumor that persists
We’re serious, the idea that this happens has some people panicking. Again, it is a false rumor, but a persistent one nonetheless. The rumor says that child abductors and child sex traffickers were tipped off as to who to target based on those stick figure decals.
Yahoo News picked up the story from seeing TikTok users and other social media sources spreading the false rumor. Supposedly, child abductors put a code above certain stick figures to mark potential next victims. Usually, it is “1F” written into the dirt above a figure in the back window. It stands for “one female.”
Some social media sites say that these decals are like a “shopping list” for child abductors and child predators. The kind folks at Snopes label the viral social media rumor false. “When we try to boil down this rumor to its origins, we see that the claim is based on something someone saw on Facebook, written by a person claiming that their friend had heard from a stranger that the code “1f1b” was being used by sex traffickers to flag future targets.”
So the “source” is no source at all
The source is as stupid as the stick figures themselves; something someone saw written by a person whose friend heard it from a stranger. Can an actual “source” be this oblique? You can only conclude that the rumor has no credibility once you see Snopes’ determined source.
When Yahoo News dug further, there is a TikTok of a “dad” that starts off with, “Here’s something you might not know but could save your life.” Posts like that can tend to get one’s attention. He explains the 1F mark and says, “If you ever see this on the back of your car someone is marking you.” Yikes!
With social media and lazy readers, this is one way rumors start
This is how dumb rumors spread. Especially, in the age of social media and lazy people believing anything they read instead of doing an iota of research. But it could have a good outcome.
Many of the responses proclaim, “Looks like I’m going to take those stickers off of my car today.” That’s great because then we don’t have to look at them. So maybe there is a silver lining behind these insipid rumors.
Fear-mongering at its finest is the best way to describe these rumors. But just to be on the safe side, shouldn’t you go ahead and peel those stickers off today? Just in case?
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