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Fake 'radiation' text message causes panic across Asia

By Kev Hedges     Mar 15, 2011 in Technology
A text message warning of radiation leaks from the Fukushima nuclear plant spreading beyond Japan has caused panic in many parts of Asia, particularly in the Philippines.
The message, circulating around Asia in the last 24 hours, has warned that radiation may "hit the Philippines around 4pm today". Purporting to come from the BBC, the message warns people to "stay indoors if it rains". The BBC has announced that no such news flash has been issued, but this has not prevented a degree of panic across the Philippines.
The Philippines government has been forced to issue an official denial after some schools were closed and workers were sent home. There is often a rise in fake messages, scam emails and spurious web links designed to dupe users into downloading malware following a disaster. The fake text message in full reads:
BBC Flash news : Japan Government confirms radiation leak at Fukushima nuclear plants. Asian countries should take necessary precautions. If rain comes, remain indoors first 24 hours. Close doors and windows. Swab neck skin with betadine where thyroid area is, radiation hits thyroid first. Take extra precautions. Radiation may hit Philippine at around 4 pm today. If it rains today or in the next few days in Hong Kong. Do not go under the rain. If you get caught out, use an umbrella or raincoat, even if it is only a drizzle. Radioactive particles, which may cause burns, alopecia or even cancer, may be in the rain.
Higher than normal radiation has been detected along the Pacific coast along Japan, as reported in Digital Journal. However Japanese officials have extended the danger zone to 30km (18 miles) around the Fukushima reactor.
More about japan earthquake, Japan radiation, fake text
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