FBI Memphis
Public Affairs Officer Elizabeth Clement Webb
(615) 232-7500
February 2, 2022

FBI Memphis Field Office Reminds Tennesseans Hoax Online Threats Have Serious Consequences

MEMPHIS, TN—The FBI wants to remind parents, students, and school officials that making a threat on social media is not a joke and can have serious consequences for the offender. Issuing a threat over social media, via text, or through email is a federal crime, and the FBI takes each of these threats seriously.

“The FBI and our partners analyze and investigate all threats to determine their credibility,” said Special Agent in Charge Douglas M. Korneski of the FBI Memphis Field Office. “Federal, state, and local law enforcement then employ a full range of tools to mitigate those threats which are deemed credible.”

What should you do to help?

  • Don’t ever post or send any hoax threats online…period.
  • If you are a target of an online threat, alert your local law enforcement immediately.
  • If you see a threat of violence posted on social media, immediately contact local law enforcement or your local FBI office. Members of the public can always submit a tip to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov.
  • Notify authorities but don’t share or forward the threat until law enforcement has had a chance to investigate—this can spread misinformation and cause panic.
  • If you are a parent or family member, know that some young people post these threats online as a cry for attention or as a way to get revenge or exert control. Talk to your child about the proper outlet for their stress or other emotions, and explain the importance of responsible social media use and the consequences of posting hoax threats.

For more information, visit https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/hoax-threats-awareness-100518. This link includes an interview with an individual who made a hoax threat.