One of the enduring false
eRumors on the Internet warns motorists not to flash their
headlights at any oncoming cars driving with their lights off
because it may be a member of a gang who, as part of a gang
initiation ritual, may follow you and assault or kill you.
Many versions of the eRumor have been falsely attributed to law
enforcement agencies, but there have also been numerous instances of
members of law enforcement or government agencies passing the
warning along to others as though true.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
A version of the eRumor came from the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police. It The RCMP later issued a release saying that "One
of our Saskatchewan employees sent this e-mail on to others in good
faith without realizing it was untrue. The information contained in
the e-mail is FALSE and the RCMP regrets any unnecessary alarm this
may have caused the public."
Government agencies in Shelby County, Tennessee
According to an article in the Memphis Flyer, the gang
initiation eRumor got circulated in 1993 by an employee of the
Community Health Agency who said he'd gotten it from the Sheriff's
The Houston Chronicle reported in September, 1993, that Houston
Police and Harris County Sheriff's deputies were put on alert
because of rumors of the flashing headlight rumor. Warnings
were reportedly broadcast to officers on several occasions that a
local gang might be involved.