A chain letter of an app called “Talking Angela”–a game for Android and iOS devices–is merely scaremongering.
The letter again went viral over the weekend of Feb. 16.
It reads: “I cant even in words say what I just found out.. I am SHOCKED and want to tell and let my friends and family be made aware so they can make sure their children are safe!!! Angelica stayed home from school today and thank GOD she did. Because she was on her ipod playing a game called talking angela, which is similar to talking tom, anyway as she is sitting next to me this interactive cat says to her hi angelica where is your brother?…”
“…So please if your KIDS use this app please shut it down. Because SOME KIDS told them the name of the school they went to and is now on red alert at the school, and please PASS this on to ALL your friends.”
If you didn’t read the rambling message, it basically says that the app is collecting children’s personal information, but that appears to be a hoax and unfounded.
Hoax-debunking website Snopes says the warning over the game–which has 281,000 ratings and an average raring of 4-stars on the Google app store–is not founded.
The website says: “The truth is that ‘Talking Angela’ appears to be entirely benign, and there are no obvious privacy concerns that differentiate it from thousands of other iPhone apps. Indeed, the ‘Talking Angela’ app is no different from other similar popular children’s apps from reputable iOS developer Out Fit 7 Ltd, including ‘Talking Tom Cat’, ‘Talking Ben the Dog’ and ‘Talking Gina the Giraffe.’”
The viral chain letter has been around since at least early 2013.
Expert Graham Cluley with security firm Sophos also debunked the warning.
“The use of ALL CAPS, the mis-spellings, the illiterate punctuation, and the almost casual inaccuracies – it talks about a ‘site’ in one sentence and an ‘app’ in the next – ought to have been enough to condemn this warning to the dustbin of history at once,” he writes.
Cluley recommends that one should not just forward the hoax letter or share it on Facebook.
If one is worried about the game, it’s easy to remove from your Android or iOS device.
In 2013, there was a similarly worded hoax.
The older warning reads: “WARNING FOR TO ALL PARENTS WITH CHILDREN THAT HAVE ANY ELECTRONIC DEVICES , EX : IPOD,TABLETS ETC …. THERE IS A SITE CALLED TALKING ANGELA , THIS SITE ASKS KIDS QUESTIONS LIKE : THERE NAMES , WHERE THEY GO TO SCHOOL AND ALSO TAKE PICTURES OF THEIR FACES BY PUSHING A HEART ON THE BOTTOM LEFT CORNER WITHOUT ANY NOTICES . PLEASE CHECK YOUR CHILDREN’S IPODS AND ALL TO MAKE SURE THEY DO NOT HAVE THIS APP !!! PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS THAT HAVE KIDS !!!!”