Verizon apologizes for terrifying text message

Customers in New Jersey received an urgent text on Monday instructing them to ‘take shelter now.’ Turns out it was only a test. Officials set the record straight on Twitter.

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Civil Emergency in this area until 1:24 PM EST
Take Shelter Now U.S. Govern

Message information:

Alert type: Extreme alert
Severity: Extreme (Extraordinary threat to life or property)
Urgency: Immediate (Responsive action should be taken immediately)
Alert response type: Shelter (Take shelter in place)
Alert category: Safety (General emergency and public safety)
Certainty: Observed (Determined to have occurred or to be ongoing)

You would panic and probably head for the hills. Perhaps have a drink and a smoke. Or maybe, just maybe, turn to the person next to you—whomever that may be—and suggest, “You know, we only have a few minutes to live …”

The alert, which Verizon sent to customers in three New Jersey counties on Monday at 12:27 pm EST, sparked a “chain reaction across a wide swath of central New Jersey,” reports the Associated Press. The text message “jangled nerves” (obviously) and “triggered hundreds of calls” from concerned residents.

The message was only a test, but as you can see, it didn’t mention that detail.

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