The United States Army has issued a statement to warn US citizens about a fake text message saying they have been "marked eligible" for a military draft.
People who received the fake message were told to report themselves immediately to an army branch and prepare for immediate departure to Iran. The fake message also said they will be fined and jailed for a minimum six years if they do not comply.
"US Army Recruiting Command has received multiple calls and emails about these fake text messages and wants to ensure Americans understand these texts are false and were not initiated by this command or the US Army," the statement read.
The US Army Recruiting Command in the same statement said the decision to enact a draft – which has not been issued since 1973 – is not made by them. Instead, the Selective Service System, an agency outside the US Department of Defense, manages the registration.
"The Selective Service System is conducting business as usual,” according to the Selective Service System’s official Facebook page. “In the event that a national emergency necessitates a draft, Congress and the President would need to pass official legislation to authorise a draft."
According to BuzzFeed, US Army officials found out about the text messages on Monday (Jan 6).
“We had phone calls from parents, and our recruiters let us know they were hearing from people who’d received these texts,” US Army Recruiting Command (USARC) media relations chief Lisa Ferguson told BuzzFeed News.
The US and Iran are currently in the midst of a military standoff following an airstrike that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani last week. CNN sighted screenshots of the fake text message which contained glaring mistakes such as spelling errors, implying that the messages were not official correspondence. Some of the messages, however, used the real names of actual army recruitment officers.
CNN said army security officials are investigating the source of the text message.
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