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VERIFY: No, Homeland Security is not telling people to stock up on gas and cash

A two-part text message claiming homeland security is warning people about a vaccination survey and to top off gas tanks and keep cash on hand, is false.

HOUSTON — There is a text message going around that is making some big claims. One of those claims is that homeland security is urging everyone to load up on gas and cash because of the war in Ukraine. 

Several folks asked the VERIFY team to find out if these claims are true.

We have six sources for this VERIFY. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Department of State Health Services, the Houston Office of Emergency Preparedness, Harris County Public Health, and Houston Public Health.

Yolanda, Vee, and Lisa asked us to verify the following text message:

Be informed: just received this:

Alert

Cellphones are being hacked!

You get called and get asked if you’ve been vaccinated or not. Then you’re told to press 1 or 2 as an answer and boom all of your banking information is accessed.

Also, homeland security says because of what’s going on with Ukraine, keep your fuel topped off and store up some cash in case ATMs get hacked and credit card systems are unavailable. Please pass it on!

As for the first claim made in that text, when someone gets a vaccine in Texas, that information is entered into ImmTrac2, the state’s immunization registry. From time to time, state and local agencies do conduct surveys. But is the one mentioned in the text message one of them?

The DSHS told the VERIFY team, “It isn’t one of the surveys being conducted by a DSHS contractor.”

So, if you get a call prompting you to submit your vaccination status, it is not from them.

We checked with Harris County Public Health and the Houston Health Departments. They said the calls are not coming from their departments either.

Now to the part of the claim that Homeland Security is urging people to gas up and keep cash handy because of what is happening in Ukraine.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told the VERIFY team, “The Department of Homeland Security did not send this text message alert.”

We checked with the Texas Department of Public Safety. They responded, “DPS did not post this information.”

We also asked the Houston Office of Emergency Management. The director of public safety and homeland security said the message did not come from his department either.

So, we can verify, the claims being made in the text message are false.

If you get a text message that you are unsure of, it is best not to share it until you check to see if it’s true.

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so that you can understand what is true and false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text alerts and our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Learn More »

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