Social media rumors of Coconut Point kidnappings

Not everything online is true, and that’s just the case with a recent Facebook post circulating around Southwest Florida.
“You could end up saving a life,” reads the text post, meant to warn friends of a very serious problem right in our backyard: human trafficking.
It had been rumored that men, dressed as police officers, were pulling people over at Coconut Point and kidnapping them out of their cars.

The text post warning friends of potential kidnappings that had been shared thousands of times.
The text post warning friends of potential kidnappings that had been shared thousands of times.

This rumor has been shared over all forms of social media, worrying people of all ages. Many FGCU students have shared the post in an effort to keep their friends safe.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office addressed this warning on Facebook, saying, “At this time, there is no evidence that this post is factual and there are no indications that there is an increased level of danger around Coconut Point.”
However, Florida has the third highest rate of human trafficking cases in the U.S., so residents should always be cautious.
“Human trafficking is a growing problem worldwide,” says the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking website. “Florida has been identified as a hub for human trafficking activity, citing one of the highest incidences of human trafficking in the country.”
When contacted, Coconut Point wished to not comment on the rumors.
While Estero shoppers may not fall victim to this hoax, residents should always be aware of their surroundings.