BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–The escalation of hostilities with Iran has sparked a firestorm of memes on social media, this week.
“World War III” has been a top trending search term, and Internet trolls seem to be working overtime.
The tidal wave of activity on the Internet is having an impact. Pranksters have been sending fake text messages telling young men they have been drafted, and to report for duty.
In turn, the United States Selective Service System got so many messages its website crashed.
George Barnes, 18, was settling in for the night when he got a strange text message that seemed to be from the U.S. Army, telling him he had been drafted for military service.
“That I am required to go to the nearest recruitment center, sign, and somewhat be deployed to Iran.”
The high school senior lives with his grandparents, in the Town of Lockport, and he took it right to his grandmother, Diane Flor.
“He comes rushing in our bedroom and he shoves this phone in my face, ‘what’s this?’ I’m like, let me read it, and I read it and I’m like, that’s nothing.”
Since the initial missile strike last week that took out a top Iranian commander, U.S. military activity has picked up, and #World War III is trending high on the web.
To head off a possible panic among draft-eligible men, the U.S. Army’s Recruiting Command put out a fraud alert to head off a possible panic.
“It got me excited, but also it got me really nervous because I am still in high school,” said Barnes, “my last year of high school actually.”
Congress abolished the military draft in 1973, but a flood of questions directed at the Selective Service crashed the agency’s website last week.
Because George has special needs emotionally, Diane was concerned about his reaction to the scam, especially when the fraudster knew his name, but Barnes is Internet savvy, has dealt with enough robo calls and other scams, he was able to shake it off.
The one thread of truth that seems to allow the draft scam to flourish, young men 18 to 26 years old (only males are subject to be drafted) are still required by law to register with the Selective Service System for a possible draft.
But as military experts can attest, the United States all-volunteer military is getting the job done, and to restore the draft would take an act of Congress.