Stick with 9-1-1, Don’t Follow Hoax Advice to Dial 1-1-2 If Unmarked Police Car Has Flashing Lights Behind You


People may call 9-1-1 to notify police if they are concerned about validity or authenticity when they are being followed by an unmarked police car with flashing red or blue lights. However, they should ignore advice on social media sites, such as Facebook, that recommend dialing 1-1-2 if you’re being followed by an unmarked car with flashing lights.

While dialing 1-1-2 might work because the number could be forwarded to 9-1-1, it doesn’t have priority over 9-1-1 calls, may even connect a little more slowly because the call has to be forwarded, and may not connect to 9-1-1 at all. Some posts on Facebook claim dialing 1-1-2, the European emergency number, instead of 9-1-1 will get a quicker response. It is also possible the 1-1-2 call would not be forwarded as not all cell phone carriers necessarily forward 1-1-2 calls to 9-1-1.

Another negative is that dialing 1-1-2 might prevent the 9-1-1 center from seeing your global position data, which would be especially dangerous if you are being followed by a police impersonator in an unknown, dangerous location.

The social media hoax has recently seen a revival locally with the report of a sexual assault this past week in Arlington Heights. The hoax advice from years ago involved a story that said a woman was being followed by a sexual offender driving a vehicle made to look like an unmarked squad car.

Concerned citizens should not call 1-1-2 to “test” whether the number functions to connect to 9-1-1, because multiple tests could overload circuits, and even if there is no overload, the call could compete with callers with actual emergencies.

National Emergency Number Association (NENA) has reiterated that 911 is the number for people to call for emergency help when in the United States.

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