Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

July 18, 2013

Social media rumors can go a long way

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — (Editor’s Note: More on recent social media posted rumors and how they relate to law enforcement will be featured in this weekend’s edition of the PV Democrat.)

A rumor can go a long way, especially when it involves a sensational claim of Garvin County children possibly being abducted.

In this particular case the talk making the rounds this week on social media turns out to be untrue.

This story centers around concerns over a salesperson going door-to-door at residences around the county.

One person keeping a close eye on the online chatter circulating on places like Facebook is Sheriff Larry Rhodes.

Rhodes said this week he’s well aware of the wild stories about child abduction and even human trafficking.

He wants residents to know the suspicions over this traveling salesperson are unfounded.

“We’ve checked the Facebook rumors out there,” Rhodes said. “They’ve been embellishing with some wrong conclusions on this lady.

“There’s a lot of misinformation on Facebook about his lady. We have no reports of any attempts to abduct children,” he said.

“It’s gotten out of hand on Facebook.”

In this instance reports starting coming into the sheriff’s office here a couple of weeks ago on concerns over one woman traveling door-to-door in the rural areas of Garvin County selling children’s books or magazines.

Deputies spoke with the woman while in the Hennepin area in the southern part of the county, according to the sheriff.

They learned she is the real deal working for a “legitimate” company.

Deputies also found out there had been similar reports from neighboring Pontotoc County.

All of this showed any rumors of people going door-to-door asking about children or looking to “steal” them just weren’t true.

This same sheriff’s office also checked out concerns expressed last year when a man selling door-to-door was apparently a bit too aggressive in his sales approach.

The main complaint this year was with the suspicions of residents over a salesperson going around to homes in the rural areas.

“They normally stay out of the cities because if they are in places like Pauls Valley they have to get a permit,” Rhodes said, adding no local permit is needed for those type of sales outside of a town’s city limits.

“That’s why you see them a lot out in the county.”