The claim: Image shows elderly man who went missing in Wales
"FLOOD YOUR FEEDS – MISSING!! In porthcawl," reads the post's caption, which appears to reference the town of Porthcawl in Wales. "Our Dad, Walter Peters aged 73 drove out last night with his dog Cami and he still hasn't returned. He doesn't know where he's going, he has dementia. There is a silver alert activated on him. Please help bump this post so we can get him home safely."
The post was shared more than 100 times in nearly two weeks.
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Our rating: False
The image shows an 80-year-old man named Jimmy Aaron Wilkerson who went missing and was found dead in the U.S. in 2014, according to news reports. The post is a copy-and-paste scam.
Georgia man, dog were missing for more than a month
The picture of the elderly man dates back a May 2014 news report from WSB-TV, a Georgia-based TV station.
The report states the man is 80-year-old Jimmy Aaron Wilkerson, who went missing with his dog in Georgia in May 2014 and was last seen driving his pickup truck. Roughly a month later, Wilkerson's body was found near a logging road and power line with his dog, which was still alive. There were no signs of foul play, according to WSB-TV and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
There are no credible news reports about an elderly man going missing in Porthcawl, Wales, in late September.
This post is an example of a copy-and-paste scheme. Jeffrey Blevins, a professor at the University of Cincinnati and misinformation expert, previously told USA TODAY that scammers use these posts to identify potential future victims.
“It’s a gullibility check,” he said. “They’re likely to circle back to you later to see what you’re willing to share, or they might try to engage you one-on-one, get you to accept a friend request, that kind of thing.”
USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the post for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
Our fact-check sources:
WSB-TV, May 13, 2014, Missing 80-year-old may be traveling with his dog
WSB-TV, June 4, 2014, Missing man found dead with dog by his side
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 3, 2014, Police: Loyal dog found alive next to missing deceased owner
USA TODAY, Oct. 26, 2022, Fact check: Expert warns against 'gullibility check' scam posts alleging catalytic converter theft
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Deceased man's photo reused for 'missing' person hoax | Fact check